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SERMONS 



AND 



SKETCHES OF SERMONS. 



BY THE REV RICHARD WATSON. 



VOLUME II. 



NEW YORK, 

PUBLISHED BY T. MASON AND G. LANE, 

FOR. THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, AT THE . CONFERENCE OFFICE, 
200 MULBERRY-STREET. 



J. Collord, Printer. 
1836. 



CONTENTS OF VOL. II. 



Sermon LII. — The Yoke and Burden of Christ. 
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light, Matt, xi, 30 Page 11 

Sermon LIII. — The Path of the Just. 

The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto 
the perfect day, Prov. iv, 18 . 16 

Sermon LIV. — The Strait Gate. 

Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved ? And he said unto 
them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate ; for many, I say unto you, will seek to 
enter in, and shall not be able, &e, Luke xiii, 23-25 18 

Sermon LV. — The Mountain of the Lord's House. 

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's 
house shall be established in the top of tho mountains, and shall be exalted above 
the hills ; and all nations shall flow unto it, &c, Isa. ii, 2-4 21 

Sermon LVI. — Jerusalem Above. 

But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all, Gal. 
iv, 26 28 

Sermon LVII. — The Design of the Promises of God. 

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises ; that by 
these ye might be partakers of the Divine nature, 2 Peter i, 4 33 

Sermon LVIII. — The Immutability of God's Counsels. 

The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all 
generations, Psa. xxxiii, 11 38 

Sermon LIX. — Christ Sealed by the Father. 

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth 
unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you : for him hath 
God the Father sealed, John vi, 27 43 

Sermon LX. — Secret and Revealed Thinss. 

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God : but those things which are 
revealed belong unto us and to our children, Deut. xxix, 29 51 

Sermon LXI. — The Frailty of Man, and the Immutability of the Gospel. 

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The 
grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away : but the word of the Lord 
endureth for ever, 1 Peter i, 24, 25 63 

Sermon LXII. — Paradise Shut, Guarded, and Re-opened. 

So he drove out the man ; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden 
cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the 
tree of life, Gen. iii, 24 70 

Sermon LXIII. — Abuse of the Long Suffering of God. 

These things hast thou done, and I kept silence ; thou thoughtest that I was 
altogether such a one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order 
before thine eyes, Psa. 1, 21 . . 78 



O CONTENTS OF VOL. II. 

Sermon LXIV. — Friendship with the World. 

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is 
enmity with God ? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy 
of God, James iv, 4 82 

Sermon LXV. — The Fountain Opened. 

In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the 
inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness ; (Margin, separation for 
uncleanness ;) Zech. xiii, 1 85 

Sermon LXVI. — Power from on High. 

But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on 
high, Luke xxiv, 49 87 

Sermon LXVII. — The Results of Messiah's Death. 

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish 
the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for 
iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and 
prophecy, and to anoint the most holy, Dan. ix, 24 91 

Sermon LXVIII. — The Crucifixion. 

Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Cer- 
tainly this was a righteous man. And all the people that came together to that 
sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned, 
Luke xxiii, 47, 48 95 

Sermon LXIX. — The Shaking of Heaven and Earth. 

Whose voice then shook the earth : but now he hath promised, saying, Yet 
once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once 
more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, (margin, may be 
shaken,) as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken 
may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us 
have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear : 
for our God is a consuming fire, Heb. xii, 26-29 101 

Sermon LXX. — God would have all Men to be Saved. 

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the 
truth, 1 Tim. ii, 4 , 106 

Sermon LXXI. — Little Faith Reproved. 
O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? Matt, xiv, 31 113 

Sermon LXXII. — Victory over Sin, Death, and the Grave. 

The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks 
be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 
xv, 56, 57 116 

Sermon LXXIII. — Secret Prayer. 

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut 
thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret ; and thy Father which seeth in 
secret shall reward thee openly, Matt, vi, 6 121 

Sermon LXXIV. — Abraham's Faith and Pilgrimage. 

By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling 
in tabernacles, (or tents,) Heb. xi, 9 123 

Sermon LXXV. — The Working out of Salvation. 

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which 
worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure, Phil, ii, 12, 13 127 



CONTENTS OF VOL. II. * 

Sermon LXXVL— The Rest of the Soul. 
Return unto thy rest, O my soul, Psalm cxvi, 7 129 

Sermon LXXVII. — The Mission Field Admeasured. 

But we will not boast of things without our measure, (not measured,) but 
according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure 
to reach even unto you. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as 
though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in 
preaching the Gospel of Christ : not boasting of things without our measure, 
(not measured,) that is, of other men's labours ; but having hope, when your faith 
is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, 
(with respect to our line into abundance,) to preach the Gospel in the regions 
beyond you, 2 Cor. x, 13-16 133 

Sermon LXXVIII. — God Raised up out of his Holy Habitation. 

Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord : for he is raised up out of his holy 
habitation, Zech. ii, 13 143 

Sermon LXXIX. — All Nations blessed in the Seed of Abraham. 

And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed ; because thou 
hast obeyed my voice, Gen. xxii, 18 153 

Sermon LXXX. — The Day of Visitation. 

If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong 
unto thy peace ! but now they are hid from thine eyes, Luke xix, 42 165 

Sermon LXXXI. — Heaven. 

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold the tabernacle of 
God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and 
God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away 
all tears from their eyes, &c, Rev. xxi, 3-5 173 

Sermon LXXXII. — The Rock of Believers. 

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges, 
Deut. xxxii, 31 , 179 

Sermon LXXXIII. — The Temptation of Christ. 

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the 
devil. Matt, iv, 1 184 

Sermon LXXXIV. — The Security and Happiness of the Church. 

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy 
place of the tabernacles of the Most High, Psa. xlvi, 4 188 

Sermon LXXXV. — The Oracles of God. 

What advantage then hath the Jew, or what profit is there of circumcision ? 
Much every way : chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of 
God, Rom. iii, 1, 2 193 

Sermon LXXXVI. — The Infliction of Evil upon Mankind. 

For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. To crush 
under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, to turn aside the right of a man 
before the face of the Most High, Lam. iii, 33-35 197 

Sermon LXXXVII. — The Parable of the Prodigal Son. 

And he said, A certain man had two sons : and the younger of them said to his 
father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided 
unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all 
together, and took his journey into a far country, &c, Luke xv, 11-32 200 



8 CONTENTS OF VOL. II. 

Sermon LXXXVIII. — The Ascension. 

Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive : thou hast received 
gifts for men ; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among 
them, Psa. lxviii, 18 210 

Seemon LXXXIX. — Life in Christ. 
In him was life, John i, 4 • 218 

Sermon XC. — The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. 

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their 
lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and 
five were foolish, &c, Matt, xxv, 1-13 223 

Seemon XCI. — The final Hour of the Son of God. 

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, 
the hour is come, John xvii, 1- 231 

Seemon XCII. — The Unspeakable Gift. 
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift, 2 Cor. ix, 15 237 

Seemon XCIII. — The Glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ. 

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined 
in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face 
of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. iv, 6 244 

Seemon XCIV. — Isaiah's Vision. 

In the year that KingUzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, 
high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims : 
each one had six wings ; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he 
covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and 
said, &c, Isa. vi, 1-7 251 

Sermon XCV. — The Angel flying through the midst of Heaven. 

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting 
Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and 
kindred, and tongue, and people, &c, Rev. xiv, 6, 7 258 

Sermon XCVI. — The Cherubim and the Mercy Seat. 
And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat, Heb. ix, 5 267 

Sermon XCVII. — Christ the Wisdom of Believers. 

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, (Or, 
who is made unto us, co<pta ana Qeov, wisdom from God,) 1 Cor. i, 30 278 

Sermon XCVIII. — The Redemption of Time. 

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil, Eph. v, 16 283 

Sermon XCIX. — The Remedy of the World's Misery. 

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light : they that dwell 
in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast 
'multiplied the nations, and not increased the joy, &c, Isa. ix, 2-7 290 

Sermon C. — The Majesty and Condescension of God. 

Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, who humbleth 
himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth, Psalm cxiii, 
5, 6 301 

Sermon CI. — The Reign of God. 

The Lord reigneth ; let the earth rejoice, Psa. xcvii, 1 . , 310 



CONTENTS OF VOL. II. VJ 

Sermon CII. — Ezekiel's Vision. 

Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day 
of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the hea. 
vens were opened, and I saw visions of God, Ezek. i, 1 320 

Sermon CIII. — The Priesthood of Christ. 

And having a High Priest over the house of God, Heb. x, 21 332 

Sermon CIV. — The Spirit of Adoption. 

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear ; but ye have 
received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit 
itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God, Rom. 
viii, 15, 16 339 

Sermon CV. — The Divine Glory Revealed in Christ. 

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, 
make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalt, 
ed, and every mountain and hill shall be made low : and the crooked shall be 
made straight, and the rough places plain : and the glory of the Lord shall be 
revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, Isa. xl, 3-5 351 

Sermon CVI. — Hope the Anchor of the Soul. 

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and 
which entereth into that within the veil, Heb. vi, 19 358 

Sermon CVII. — The Parable of the Good Samaritan. 

And who is my neighbour ? Luke x, 29 368 

Sermon CVIII. — Inward Religion. 

But he is a Jew which is one inwardly ; and circumcision is that of the heart, 
in the spirit, and not in the letter ; whose praise is not of men, but of God, 
Rom. ii, 29 . . 374 

Sermon CIX. — Presumption Reproved. 

Should it be according to thy mind ? Job xxxiv, 33 383 

Sermon CX. — The Trial of Faith. 

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that 
perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honour, 
and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter i, 7 387 

Sermon CXI. — The Importance of Charity. 

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, 
I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal, 1 Cor. xiii, 1 399 

Sermon CXII. — Christianity of Divine Origin and Authority. 

For what man luioweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which 
is in him ? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of 
God ; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God, 1 Cor. 
ii, 11, 12 . 405 

Sermon CXIIL— The New Birth. 

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but 
canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth : so is every one that is 
born of the Spirit, John iii, 8 . 411 

Sermon <CXIV. — The High Privileges of Believers. 

But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the 
heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general 
assembly and Church of the first-born, &c, Heb. xii, 22-24 . . . 419 



10 CONTENTS OF VOL. II. 

Sermon CXV. — The Armour of Light. 
Let us put on the armour of light, Rom. xiii, 12 427 

Sermon CXVI. — Love to Christ. 

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me"? John 
si, 17 438 

Sermon CXVII. — The Importance of Religious Knowledge 

And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength 
of salvation, Isa. xxxiii, 6 443 

Sermon CXVIII. — The Ministry of John the Baptist. 

I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of 
the Lord, as said the Prophet Esaias, John i, 23 452 

Sermon CXIX.— The Worship of God. 

God is a Spirit ; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and 
in truth, John iv, 24 458 

Sermon CXX. — The Way to Happiness. 

If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him ; if iniquity 
be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles. 
For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot ; yea, thou shalt be steadfast, 
and shalt not fear, Job xi, 13-15 . 467 

Sermon CXXI. — The Influence of Revealed Truth upon a Nation. 

Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God 
commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 
Keep therefore and do them ; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in 
the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely, this 
great nation is a wise and understanding people, Deut. iv, 5, 6 473 

Sermon CXXII. — The First Sabbath in the New Year. 
Thou crownest the year with thy goodness, Psa. Ixv, 11 481 

Sermon CXXIII. — The Love of Christ. 
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, Eph. iii, 19 488 



SERMONS. 



Sermon LII. — The Yoke and Burden of Christ. 



" For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light," Matt, xi, 30. 

The invitation, of which the text is the conclusion, is one of those 
fine and interesting instances in which the compassion of our Saviour 
flowed forth toward the unworthy, but still beloved objects of his 
solicitude. He had been upbraiding the cities wherein most of his 
mighty works had been done, because they repented not ; pronouncing, 
with deep solemnity, their melancholy but deserved doom of inde- 
scribable wo ; but, calling to mind the few humble spirits who had be- 
lieved on him, he praises God on their account : " I thank thee, O 
Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things 
from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes :" and 
then, as still pitying the souls who, under the misguiding direction of 
the scribes and Pharisees, continued to reject him, he opens his arms 
to receive them, invites them to come to him, and promises to give 
them rest. 

To understand the words more fully, it is necessary, however, that 
we observe the phraseology which our Lord here employs. A " yoke," 
and a "burden," were terms used by the Jews to express, in general, 
religious observances and obligations ; and, more especially, those rules 
and that discipline under which the Jewish rabbis placed their disci- 
ples, and the superstitious Pharisees the people at large, in order to 
their salvation. So our Lord charges them with imposing "heavy 
burdens, and grievous to be borne." And St. Peter speaks of " the 
yoke which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear." 

This, then, was the scene which presented itself before our Lord. 
He saw disciples crowding round the rabbis, submitting to their severe 
discipline in order to the attainment of spiritual good. He saw the 
people, performing costly ceremonies, and wearying themselves to get 
free from the load of guilt and fear which still pressed heavily upon 
them. Thus seeing, thus pitying them, he invites them, " Come unto 
me," and "learn of me;" be my disciples, "for I am meek," mild, — 
" and lowly," condescending. " Take my yoke upon you," submit to 
my discipline ; " for my yoke," unlike that which is laid upon you by 
others, — " for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." 

Brethren, such are the words of our Lord, spoken also to ourselves ; 
words, however, which many wrest to their hurt, and which therefore 
call for careful interpretation. There is danger here on either hand. 
Some so regard the easiness of the yoke, as to forget that it is a yoke 
still ; while others spurn its restraints, and flee from it as from a galling 
bondage. My business shall be to show you that the truth lies be- 
tween these extreme views ; that Christian liberty is not license ; that 
Christian restraint is not bondage ; in a word, that in truth and reality 

2 



12 THE YOKE AND BURDEN OF CHRIST. [SERMON LII. 

Christ has his yoke and burden, but that his " yoke is easy, and his 
burden light." 

I. Christ has his yoke. There are the conditions, the restraints, 
and the services of his religion. 

1. There are the conditions which his religion prescribes. 

The Jewish doctors had their conditions of discipleship ; and if we 
will be the disciples of Christ, we, too, must hear of conditions. There 
must be unqualified submission to him as our teacher. We must sit 
at his feet, renouncing all but him, the teacher sent from God. From 
his decisions we are to make no appeal ; all is to be determined by, 
" Thus saith the Lord." And this applies both to our opinions, and 
rules of practice. There must be exclusive trust in the merits of his 
death, as the sacrifice for sin. When the Gospel was first preached, 
the Jew had to turn from all the sacrifices of the law ; the Gentile, 
from all his offerings to his gods. And so must we turn from all sup- 
posed merit or worthiness of our own. There must be a resting in 
the sole merit of Christ. That alone must be pleaded before God, and 
all things hoped for only from that. And there must be self denial ; 
for so himself has said : " If any man will come after me, let him deny 
himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." To affliction and suf- 
fering, as in his wisdom he may appoint, we are to submit, " enduring 
hardness as good soldiers of Christ." 

2. In the discipline of Christ, there are likewise restraints. 

Some of them refer to our tempers. We are to be meek, forgiving, 
merciful, and kind. Others, to our words. His disciples have a lan- 
guage of their own. No " corrupt communication" may " proceed out 
of their mouth ; but that which is good to the use of edifying." " An- 
ger, and clamour, and evil speaking, are to be put away from them," 
and "filthiness, and foolish talking, and jesting, which are not conve- 
nient." Some, again, relate to our conduct. Instead of doing that 
which is right in our own eyes, instead of being " men pleasers," we 
have to "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in 
every good work." And some, to our society. "Be not unequally 
yoked together with unbelievers ; but come out from among them, and 
be separate." 

3. There are the services which the religion of Christ requires 
from us. 

The services of devotion, of zeal, and of charity. Jesus uttered " a 
parable to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint." 
An apostle, on the Lord's authority, has taught us that it is good, and 
becoming the Christian character and profession, to be always " zeal- 
ously affected in a good thing." At the same time, even property is to 
be devoted to God ; for Christians are to devise liberal things, and to " do 
good to all men, especially to them that are of the household of faith." 

Such is the yoke of Christ. To many it appears hard and 'burden- 
some. I have to show you that it is not so. 

II. Christ's yoke is easy, and his burden is light. 

I must endeavour to convince you of this, as the first step to induce 
you to take it upon yourselves, that so you may find the promised " rest 
to your souls." 

1. And my first observation is, that whether Christ's yoke be easy 
or not, you find no rest by rejecting it. 
2 



SERMON LII.] THE YOKE AND BURDEN OF CHRIST. 13 

You are still weary and heavy laden. It is necessary for you to 
know this, to prepare you to listen attentively to the arguments by 
which your Lord's yoke will be proved to be easy. 

Suppose you reject him as your teacher, it is still plain that you find 
no rest. In proportion as you inquire, you are bewildered in uncer- 
tainty and doubt. Ignorance or skepticism is your only alternative. 
Suppose you reject him as the sacrifice for your sins, you find no rest. 
The load of guilt still remains, and the more serious you are, in looking 
at God's law, and comparing your own life with its requisitions, the 
more heavily does that load press on you. Your conscience is heavy 
laden, and you labour even to weariness, but find no relief. Suppose 
you refuse to deny yourself and take up your cross, you are still weary 
and heavy laden. You put on the yoke of your appetites and passions. 
Sense gains the ascendency over you. Violent affections or evil tem- 
pers hurry you away. Nor can you avoid crosses. Afflictions will 
come ; and under their load you become peevish, and sullen, and in- 
creasingly rebellious, and find that it is hard for you to kick against 
the pricks. You will endure no restraints on your society ; but with 
what a burden do you come from the company of the wicked and vain. 
You will have no restraint on your words and conduct ; but you find 
that license is sin, and that sin is ever attended by guilt. Or do you 
reject Christ's service? But does the absence of a praying spirit give 
you peace 1 or of useful living afford you rest ? Yes ; the rest of the 
slothful servant, always in alarm lest his Lord should come and reckon 
with him. Write it on your hearts, that whatsoever Christ's yoke may 
be, you will find no rest by rejecting it. 

2. To prove that Christ's yoke or discipline is easy, I observe, that 
it conforms in all its parts to the truth and reality of things. 

That is, it is a reasonable service ; and nothing is easy which does 
not commend itself to an enlightened and sound judgment. For a time, 
indeed, we may fancy ourselves satisfied without this, but not upon 
the whole of the case. Now try the discipline of Christ by this rule. 
Submission to him as teacher is required, because he is the infallible 
wisdom of God. There must be exclusive dependence on the merits 
of his sacrifice, because those merits are infinite. Shall we dare to 
put any thing in the place of the atoning blood Divine ? We are to 
be restrained and ruled by him ; and this is most fitting. God is the 
maker and governor of all things, and the harmony and happiness of 
the universe can only be permanent by the continuance of all its parts 
in the places where his wisdom fixes them, acting as his supreme will 
appoints. What, if the rivers forsook their channels, and the sea 
swelled over its appointed bounds, and the stars wandered from their 
place? Confusion and ruin must ensue. And there is a law for man. 
Sin is disorder and misery. Sin sets man against man, against him- 
self, against God. What is Christ's obeyed discipline, but restored 
harmony ; the dominion of the wise and gracious will of God 1 That 
yoke, surely, must be easy ; that burden light. 

3. The yoke, or discipline, of Christ must necessarily be easy, be- 
cause it brings with it the sense of the approbation of God. 

And this is the highest bliss of the creature. Not even angels could 
be perfectly happy without it. They have the tokens of Divine ac- 
ceptance vouchsafed to them ; and at the day of judgment, the saints 

2 



11 THE YOKE AND BURDEN OF CHRIST. [SERMON hll- 

shall have the delightful "Well done!" pronounced by their Lord. 
Nor are the saints on earth without these cheering tokens. They 
labour that whether present in the body, or absent from it, they " may 
be accepted of him." Nor is their labour vain. He makes them glad 
with the light of his countenance. And for man to know that he is 
accepted of God, what can heighten this ? Well may any spirit be 
weary and heavy laden without it. Now, it is to this that the disci- 
pline of Christ conducts us. The Jewish ceremonies, by themselves, 
could not effect this. The repetition of the sacrifices was a continual 
remembrance of sin, and they who rested in these could never be " made 
perfect." There still remained the " conscience of sins." And as to 
them who took on them the yoke of the masters, of the scribes and 
Pharisees, " in vain did they worship God, receiving for doctrines the 
commandments of men." And therefore did our Lord pity them, bur- 
dened as they were with the ceremonies of religion, but uncheered by 
its consolations. And look at the heathen, or the formalist, or luke- 
warm professor of our own day. There is no token of accepted wor- 
ship. There may be an outward approach to God ; but as that is all, 
it is met by no answering smile, no inward assurance, "I am thy God." 
They call, after their manner, " from morning, even until noon, and to 
the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice ;" but there is "neither 
voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regard" them. But the disci- 
pline of Christ is, as we have seen, the will of God concerning us in all 
things ; and if Christ himself be accepted by us, if sin be renounced, 
if self be trampled upon, if in simplicity we only aim at pleasing him, 
and are willing to suffer any thing rather than offend him, he will not 
see this without giving to us " a token for good," which shall cheer us 
in his service, and make its most difficult parts easy. God has access 
to the souls which he has made ; and by shedding abroad in our heart 
his abounding consolations, as well as by gracious answers to our 
prayers, and interpositions of protecting power, and guiding wisdom, 
he will prove to us that we are accepted of him. If God be with us 
in his manifested presence and love, then will the yoke be easy, and 
the burden light. 

4. The yoke of Christ is easy; for he who heartily submits to it re- 
ceives a state of mind corresponding to it. 

One of the grand peculiarities of Christianity is, that it provides for 
the soul's regeneration. Here, all the philosophy of the world has 
always been deficient. It could prescribe courses of virtue, though 
these were very defective ; but it could not give the heart to observe 
them. It had no laver of regeneration ; it referred to no Holy Spirit. 
And very similar is much of modern religion. It assumes, indeed, 
something of the form of Christianity, and even prescribes many of 
the laws of Christ. But that is all. It knows nothing of regeneration 
by the Holy Ghost. It refuses to acknowledge the saying of our Lord, 
in its full import, "Ye must be born again." What wonder, then, 
that the service of God appears hard, his Sabbaths a weariness, and 
duty itself is regarded but as painful drudgery? What wonder that 
religion should become a thing of times and seasons for church or 
chapel ; and that the unwilling bow, thus forcibly bent, should fly back 
so soon as the time of worship is past, and the place changed ; and 
that the soul, with all its affections, should now be devoted to the 
2 



SERMON HI.] THE YOKE AND BURDEN OF CHRIST. 15 

world ? But when Christ is heard, and truly followed, an inward 
change takes place, and a principle is planted within us which corres- 
ponds with every part of the discipline we are required to observe. Is 
he our teacher ? There is now the humility which delights to " sit at 
his feet, and hear his words." Is he the sacrifice for our sins ? There 
is the consciousness of unworthiness, which rejoices to take refuge in 
his perfect merits. Does he call us to deny ourselves ? There is the 
sacred fear of offending, which makes pleasure, honour, interest, light 
as air in comparison of the necessity of avoiding sin. Are we to take 
up our cross ? There is the patience, which, submitting to the will of 
God, meekly acquiesces in the appointed trial. There is faith, which 
waits with confidence for darkness to be turned into light, and rests 
on the sure promise of God. There is holiness, which not only shrinks 
from all evil, but aspires after perfect purity. And there is love, active 
to do, and strong to suffer ; before which high feeling every valley is 
exalted, and every mountain brought low. Such are the principles 
which Christ implants. Neglect them, and we promise you no ease 
in the yoke. Suffer him to save as well as rule you, and you shall 
find that his yoke is easy, and his burden light. 

5. The intimate and inseparable connection between every branch 
of the discipline of Christ, and the heavenly state, crowns the whole. 

It is, in fact, a discipline and training for heaven, not merely the 
only, but the sure and infallible way thither. Why are you to sit at 
his feet and learn his words now, but that, being turned from earthly 
light to the light of the word, you may be prepared to find him your 
wisdom in eternity ? He has many things to say to us, but we cannot 
bear them now : but he will fulfil his promise ; and what we know not 
now, we shall know hereafter. We are to flee to his sacrifice ; and 
only thus can we overcome death, and enter heaven itself, " by the 
blood of the Lamb." Why are we to deny ourselves, but that the soul 
may rise above sense, and gain the perfect relish for the spiritualities 
of heaven ? Why are we to bear the cross, but that our light affliction 
may work for us the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory 1 
"We suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." We 
are to leave the society of the world, because we are so soon to join 
" the innumerable company of angels, and the general assembly and 
Church of the first born." We cultivate holiness, and that both in 
thought, word, and deed, because there entereth into heaven nothing 
that is defiled, and that so we may be presented without spot before 
God. Why do we serve him in acts of worship here, but because the 
high festivals, the holy Sabbaths of heaven, are at hand, and we have 
to begin here the songs that shall never end? And why are we to 
abound in zeal to save others, but that the number of the citizens of 
heaven may be swelled, and that we, turning many to righteousness, 
may shine as the stars for ever and ever ? By the discipline of Christ 
we become " meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in 
light," and thus experience how delightful is his yoke. 

Hear, then, his invitation, and come unto him. Recollect who it is 
that speaks, and that he is "meek and lowly in heart." Are his words, 
" Come unto me ?" Let us say, " Speak, for thy servant heareth." 
Is his injunction, " Take my yoke upon you?" O let us take it now ; 
let us take it fully ; let us take it for ever ! And what is his promise 7 

2 



16 THE I>ATH OF THE JUST. [SERMON MI. 

Rest, " rest unto your souls." See what you want ; and what you can 
only find in him. Come to him ; ever carry his yoke : you shall have 
rest now ; rest in death ; rest for ever and ever. His counsel shall 
stand. His word can never fail. 



Sermon LIH. — The Path of the Just. 



" The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto 
the perfect day," Proverbs iv, 18. 

The just man here mentioned is not the man who begins merely, 
but who likewise perseveres ; not he who only enters the gate, but 
who continues in the path. Nothing can be more affecting than to 
see so solemn a matter as religion taken up on light grounds, and as 
lightly abandoned, as though it were a question of no moment, whether 
we served God, or served him not. Nor does any thing incur a great, 
er guilt, or expose to a greater danger. " Better had it been for them 
not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have 
known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them." 
Seven devils entered, where only one had been before ; and the last 
state was worse than the first. But here you have the man of stead- 
fastness and perseverance. His path is no meteor, which gleams and 
expires ; no rising day, lowering into mist and darkness : it is the path 
of the cloudless light of heaven. It shineth yet more and more. Such 
is his continual progress in truth, holiness, and happiness. 

This is at once the character and the reward of persevering piety ; 
and in this point of view we now direct you to consider the text. 

Persevering and steadfast piety is as the light that shineth more 
and more, 

I. Because of the increasing demonstration which it furnishes of 
the truth and excellency of religion. 

There are many proofs of that truth and excellency. Some are 
argumentative ; others experimental. These last have always an in- 
creasing power. We find how well adapted religion is to every case. 
We have the safe guidance of its principles in every difficulty ; the 
support of its consolations in every trial. All go to deepen convic- 
tion, till, saved from the shadow of every doubt, we walk in perfect 
light. 

II. Persevering piety possesses an increasing assurance of the 
Divine favour. 

This is the very light of the soul, the only source of peace in the 
conscience. At first it is obtained by faith ; but in the case we are 
supposing, faith grows into a habit, and keeps the soul in perfect peace. 
Faith itself is strengthened by new discoveries of the love of God, 
and of the fitness and fulness of the atonement and intercession of the 
Saviour ; and thus does the peace of the soul strengthen, filial inter- 
course with God becomes more rich and frequent, till we come to "re- 
joice in the Lord alway." 
2 



SERMON LIII.] THE PATH OF THE JUST. 17 

III. Persevering piety has increasing pleasures. 
What I have just been stating furnishes the abiding foundation for 
this. There can be no growing happiness without a preserved sense 
of Divine acceptance. But with this, there is more. Piety opens its 
sources of mental pleasure ; pure, because "not supplied by sinful ob- 
jects ; rich and constant, because flowing from sources of real good ; 
and out of the reach of outward things, because issuing from springs 
which these cannot dry up. And all these, deriving, as they do, their 
life from Divine influence, have in them a principle of increase. Every 
thing evil is uneasy, and connected with misery ; but very different is 
the case with true good. Is it not a refreshing feeling, that I am at 
peace with the whole world ? that I am benevolently affected toward 
all, and to every good thing ? that I am conscious of purity of inten- 
tion ? and that, by the grace of God, I am kept from sinning against 
him ? that my choice is decided, and that my will coincides with the 
will of God? Such feelings as these bring pleasure and satisfaction 
with them ; and it is in their very nature to increase ; and thus do 
they fill the soul with deeper and richer delight. 

Then, what increasing pleasures are opened by the word and ordi- 
nances of God ! by Christian communion, and religious exertions ! 
All these, to a spirit prepared for them by the salvation which is by 
grace, through faith, present pleasures which never cloy, which afford 
richer, and still richer, satisfaction. 

IV Persevering piety has the advantage of an increasing evidence 
of the wisdom and care of God in his providential arrangements. 

It is a great thought, that man is guided by God ; that there is a 
special providence over him ; that every thing is directed to an end in 
which he is interested. And this is the state of every true Christian, 
apprehended alone by faith. This faith, indeed, has its trials, as lighter 
or darker clouds flit across the sky. But this is the high privilege of 
him who perseveres in piety, that, as he is more wise to see, and more 
careful to mark, the abounding instances of Divine interposition, ho 
has the very demonstration, ever growing in strength and clearness, 
because of the continual accessions of evidence, that " the eye of the 
Lord is upon them that fear him and hope in his mercy." He argues, 
as to the present, from a larger, longer experience of the past, and 
walks steadfastly through paths of danger, seeing God, and rejoicing 
in his guide. 

V- Persevering piety has brighter and more cheering views of the 
eternal state. 

This, indeed, is the benevolent intention of God as to all ; and con- 
viction of the world's vanity, experience of the world's trials, are de- 
signed to quicken the progress of the affections toward man's heavenly 
home. Why are we in trouble? why weep over losses, disappoint- 
ments, and deaths, but for this ? Persevering piety prepares the spirit 
to receive the lesson the chastening was designed to teach. Cruci- 
fixion to the world increases, and with it stronger desires for a yet 
richer preparation for heaven. Every thing in piety moves toward 
God ; but it is God in heaven, as fully revealed there. There is access 
to him on earth, but not such as is enjoyed in heaven ; and the privi- 
leges given on earth excite growing desires for the higher privileges 
of heaven. Stronger desires produce a more rapid progress, and thus 
Vol. II. 2 



18 THE STRAIT GATE. [SERMON UV. 

brighter views ; as the traveller first sees the distant towers, which, as 
he approaches them, appear to enlarge, till he beholds them in all their 
grandeur. 

In conclusion, 

1. See that your path be indeed the path of the just ; the path en- 
tered upon by a penitent faith. Walk in it by the strength of regen- 
erate habits, fed by prayer, and by communion with God. See that 
you never expect the desired end without this steady perseverance. 

2. Remember that the way of the wicked is darkness ; that it is all 
error and perplexity : they know not at what they stumble. Dark 
already, the clouds continue to thicken, % gloom to increase, till there 
comes* the black, settled darkness of eternal night. 

3. Recollect, for your encouragement, that, bright and cheering as 
is the light upon your path, it is but the light of the morning. It shall 
issue in full day ; but that shall be the eternal day of heaven. That 
shall be the perfect day of revelation, — of deliverance, — of eternally 
established holiness, — of full joy, — of the glorious vision of God him- 
self. 

Be steadfast and unmovable. Forget the things that are behind, 
reach forth to them which are before, and so press toward the mark. 
Increasing diligence shall bring increasing pleasure. The light con- 
tinues to brighten and spread as you advance, and ere long that perfect 
day shall come, whose sun shall go no more down, and God himself be 
your everlasting brightness. 



Sermon LIV. — The Strait Gate. 



" Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved ? And he said 
unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate ; for many, I say unto you, will seek 
to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, 
and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the 
door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us ; and he shall answer and say unto you, I 
know you not whence ye are," Luke xiii, 23-25. 

While Christ was on earth he was not what might be termed a 
most successful preacher. Afterward, however, his work appeared to 
his servants. Hence, in the preceding verses, he compares the king- 
dom of God to the leaven for a time hid in three measures of meal ; 
and to the mustard seed, cast into the earth. Thus did he go " through 
the cities and villages, teaching ;" sowing the seed which was to be- 
come a great tree, imparting the leaven which was to leaven the whole 
lump. While thus employed, one came and said to him, " Lord, are 
there few that be saved ?" — a serious, but probably a curious, question 
too. Perhaps it was not, in itself, an improper question ; for our 
Lord gives an immediate, though indirect, reply to it ; taking occa- 
sion to give the advice which Luke has recorded in the text ; and 
words more solemn, more deeply impressive, never fell even from the 
lips of the Saviour himself. 
Let us observe, 
2 



SERMON LIV.] THE STRAIT GATE. 19 

I. The folly of making religious inquiries, except in order to holy 
and practical results. 

I do not depreciate the value of religious information. There is a 
curiosity in reference to it, which to a certain extent is laudable. — 
Moses said, "I beseech thee show me thy glory." Approach to dis- 
tict vision is an approach toward the perfection of the future state. 
But the text does not suggest the notion of such as, taking care to 
secure right principles in order to right practice, humbly look into the 
mysteries of religion. It rather reminds us of such as cherish a specu- 
lative habit, and chiefly employ themselves in discussing doctrines, 
wrestling with difficulties, and pursuing various inquiries, as though 
the whole system of truth must be explained to them, before they could 
have any interest in it. To such persons the text is most instructive. 
" Are there few that be saved ?" inquired the man. Strive thyself to 
be of the number, was the reply he received. So, on another occasion, 
when it was said to him, " And what shall this man do ?" the reply 
was, "What is that to thee? follow thou me." What is it to me, 
whether few or many be saved, if I am not saved myself? What avails 
it that we know the mystery of the trinity, if we neither love nor serve 
God ? What does my knowledge of the origin of evil signify, if I am 
not found striving against sin ? what, that I understand the* mysteries 
of Divine Providence, unless I am humbled by its judgments, or moved 
to grateful love by its mercies ? what, if I know why the heathen have 
been so long overlooked, if I am not improving the superior advantages 
which I myself possess ? But, 

II. The answer of our Lord implies that, in his time, at least, the 
number of the saved was but small. 

Few strove to enter in at the strait gate ; and therefore were so 
many found walking in the broad way leading to death. This does 
not, however, conclude upon the question, whether few or many will 
be saved at the last. Perhaps the "multitude which no man can 
number " will include a large majority of the human race ; especially 
taking infants into the account. Nor does it weaken the hope than an 
age will arrive when the many shall be saved. But at the time when 
our Lord spoke, and, alas ! at the present time, is this description 
awfully applicable. " Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, and 
few there be that find it." And what is the reason of this ? Have 
only a few been redeemed ? Nay, but " he gave himself a ransom for 
all." Are but a few called? Nay, the declaration is, "Many are 
called." " Wisdom crieth aloud ; she uttereth her voice in the streets." 
The reason is found where our Lord himself places it : " Ye will not 
come unto me." Many will not even listen to the truth. Of those 
who hear, many will not lay it to heart. Many think without resolv- 
ing ; many resolve without executing ; many begin to execute, who 
do not endure to the end. Awfully serious is the thought, that, of the 
multitudes we see around us, there are but few that be saved. 

III. If we would be of the number of the saved, we must " strive to 
enter in." 

It is of the greatest importance that we mark the force of the word 
which our Lord employs. Our own word " agonize" is derived from 
it. It is used of the candidates for victory in the ancient games ; of 
those who had to run, to fight, to wrestle ; all implying vigorous and 

2 



20 THE STKAIT GATE. [sEKMON 1IV . 

persevering exertion. In our own case, the exhortation implies great 
opposition and difficulty. We may not deceive you. Salvation is, 
comparatively, a work of difficulty. Many underrate this ; we should 
therefore endeavour to be fully aware of it. 

There is our own heart. This is naturally corrupt, possessing no 
one principle friendly to good. All good is to be brought into it, and 
is opposed by it. Therefore have we to strive. 

There is the influence of outward things. We are prone to walk 
by sight. There is a constant bearing on our affections from without ; 
from our trials, and even our blessings. We are opposed by a strong 
current, setting directly against us, which can only be overcome by 
being breasted. We must strive. And the force of this current is 
increased by the added stream of example. There are not only the 
worldly who call us to accompany them, but lukewarm, slothful pro- 
fessors. How necessary that we strive ! 

There is the devil, a murderer of souls from the beginning, always 
tracking our path ; seasons of powerful temptation. We cannot con- 
quer unless we strive. 

There are the sacrifices which must be made. Our interest, when 
duty requires it, must be given up. The cross must be taken up and 
borne. The flesh must be denied. The offending right hand is tp be 
cut off. Against this self-denying life nature will stir up all her op- 
position. To overcome it, we must strive. 

Such is the picture of our difficulties. There is the gate of safety 
before us ; but a crowd stands there to keep us from entering : the 
wicked who remain with us ; apostates who bring a bad report of the 
way ; numerous pleasures which would hold us in silken bands ; our 
own giant corruptions seizing i us with strong arm ; and all marshalled 
under their great leader, the god of this world. Prepare to strive, or 
give up the hope of entering. Gird on your armour ; fight, wrestle, 
pray, or you are eternally undone. And forget not, that, having en- 
tered, there still remain enemies to be overcome, difficulties to be sur- 
mounted. To the very end we must strive. But observe, 

IV. We have but a limited and uncertain time in which we may 
strive. 

Some parts of the following verses refer to the Jews ; but their prin- 
ciple is as applicable to ourselves. The door which is open will by 
and by be closed ; and then we may seek to enter in, but shall not be 
able. In the views afforded us by these latter verses, we have, 

1. The master of the house waiting to receive his guests to the feast 
of heavenly joy. In the meanwhile, his servants spread his invitations, 
and say, " Come, for all things are now ready." 

2. The expiration of the limited time. He rises up, and shuts to 
the door. This happens, as to each of us, at the hour of death. The 
day of judgment shall solemnly proclaim that the season for striving 
is past. 

3. The amazing change in the opinions of men. Now, few seek to 
enter in, as setting no value on spiritual and heavenly good. Then, 
that will be seen to be all. Many will seek, but in vain. Our opin- 
ions shall certainly undergo a change ; either before it is too late, or 
at farthest, then. 

4. The pleas used. The light of eternity not only presents things 



SERMON LV.] THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORd's HOUSE. 21 

under an aspect in which we had before refused to consider them, but 
recalls the past to memory. We view some slight connection with 
Christ and his cause, and endeavour to urge it in our own favour.— 
'" We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in 
our streets." But all in vain : he shall declare that he never knew us, 
and we shall be compelled to depart. 

5. And what an aggravation of our punishment, to see Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God, — to see the comers from east, 
west, north, and south, — and we ourselves thrust out ! We see the 
reality of the joys we despised ; the success of those whom we ridi- 
culed, and whose example we spurned. There they are in God's 
everlasting kingdom, partakers of the endless festivities of heaven. — 
And we, once invited, thrust out. We would not enter in, and we 
shall not. Strive, then, without delay, without intermission, and to 
the end. 



Seemon LV. — The Mountain of the Lord's House. 



" And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's 
house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above 
the hills ; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, 
Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God 
of Jacob ; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths : for 
out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people : and they 
shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks : 
nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any 
more," Isaiah ii, 2-4. 

Prophecy is among the most impressive of the peculiarities of the 
sacred volume. No one can rationally doubt but that the all-pervad- 
ing eye of God pervades the future ; no one, that the all-searching 
Spirit can impress, as it were, a portion of that future, as thus seen 
and known, upon the human mind. 

The evidence in proof of prophecy, however, ought to be strong and 
decisive ; and such is that of the predictions of our Scriptures. The 
very presumptive evidence is of the highest class. They were uttered 
by holy men ; and with such only could the Holy Ghost have intimate 
intercourse. They are all holy in their moral influence. In the scenes 
which they open before us, we see the clouds and darkness which are 
before the throne of God in part removed, and more clearly is it mani- 
fested that justice and judgment are the habitation of it. Though the 
Jews are often made the subjects of these prophetic declarations, yet 
we see no political end proposed, no national prejudices flattered. And 
then, they have an explicitness which forms a striking contrast to the 
oracles of pagan antiquity. I know they are often enigmatic, but 
they are never equivocal. They may be applied in a higher or lower 
sense ; and sometimes to several events, but never to contrary ones. 
N or are all even enigmatic ; some of the most eminent are very clear. 
But, even when most obscure, their darkness is the mere privation of 
light, not the positive darkness, like that of Egypt, in which imposture 

2 



22 THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD'S HOUSE. I 

shrouds itself. It is the obscurity of some allegorical ^cup ^ ™ 
which the figures are true to nature and fact, though we ^^ which 
of the story; not that of hieroglyphics, things of arbitral y ^ > 
hide by cunning what is interestedly intended to be^conce j 

The grand evidence of the truth of prophecy, howevei, 
Those predictions of Scripture which have already be ^ t ^? ^ t hus 
are too numerous and well known to be at present q > 

do we rest satisfied, that in due time those which are as yet unfulfilled 
shall receive their complete accomplishment. 

The text is one of these, and calls our attention, 

I. To a period of time when the events of which it speaks are to 
occur. " It shall come to pass in the last days. 

II. To the state of the general Church of God in that period. » The 
mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the 
mountains." 

III. To certain special operations of God, by which the efforts of 
this restored Church, to bless and save the world, shall be rendered 
effectual. " He shall judge among the nations." 

I. The period of time mentioned here, and in various other parts of 
the Old Testament, is, with peculiar emphasis, styled, " the last days." 

The phrase means, generally, the age of the Messiah ; and is thus 
understood by both Jewish and Christian commentators. The apostle 
has put this meaning beyond all doubt. " God, who spake in times 
past unto the fathers, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his 
Son." 

1. The expression intimates, that the dispensations in which the 
prophets of the Old Testament lived, were but preparatory to one of 
complete perfection. 

To the future all these ancient holy men were ever looking. The 
patriarchal was succeeded by the Mosaic age. Prophet came after 
prophet ; but all were looking forward : not one of them was himself 
the great object of prophetic gaze. The last days had not arrived. — 
All things a.round them, and before them, were typical and shadowy. 
They were glorious, it is true ; but their glories were like the radiant 
clouds of early dawn, owing their lustre to a vast orb of light, which 
was climbing the horizon, but had not yet appeared. For the full burst 
of that splendour they were intently gazing ; and when, in the visions 
of the future, they saw him rise, they saw then that " the last days " 
were come, that they had nothing beyond to expect ; and, in all the 
fulness of a holy satisfaction, they contemplated the scene, knowing 
that God himself had no higher gift to bestow, and that the world could 
desire no richer blessing. 

2. The emphasis with which the prophets speak of « the last days," 
intimates, also, the views they had of the complete efficiency of that 
religious system which the Messiah was to introduce. 

On that age all their hopes of the recovery of a world they saw 
sinking around them rested ; and in the contemplation of this efficient 
plan of redeeming love, they mitigated their sorrows. Sorrow they did 
God only could number the tears which, in former ages, must have 
been shed over the declension of true religion. It could not be other- 
wise. For ages the threatening clouds had hung over the heathen 
world. One burst of smoke after another issued from the bottomless 



SERMON LV.] THE MOUNTAIN OP THE LOEd's HOUSE. 23 

pit, darkening the nations, and spreading even to the horizon of Zion. 
War was maintained, but not always successfully. Errors were ever 
springing up. how many have said, " Help, Lord, for the godly 
man ceaseth ; for the faithful fail from among the children of men!" 
" Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy 
Jaw !" But the moment they directed their gaze to the last days, the 
weeping eye brightened. They felt that the world needed a more 
efficient system and they saw it descend with Messiah from heaven. 
The man possessed with a devil was brought to the disciples, but they 
could not cast him out. A world over which Satan had usurped do- 
minion found no effectual relief from patriarchs and prophets. But 
the men of God were permitted to see the last days, the day of Christ, 
though afar off. They saw that demoniac world brought to Jesus, and 
legions of devils expelled. Hence they triumphed in anticipation. 
The moment they saw Messiah enter the field, their anguish gave way, 
they knew how the combat would end, and, like their Saviour after- 
ward, they rejoiced in spirit when they beheld Satan like lightning fall 
from heaven. 

3. The days of the Messiah were regarded by the ancient Church 
as " the last days," because in them all the great purposes of God were 
to be developed and completed. 

On this subject we cannot long dwell, though one of the noblest to 
which our attention can turn. It is certain, however, that the plans 
of God are great and general ones, not expedients to meet existing 
circumstances. They must, therefore, be connected with results so 
vast, as finally to justify the great agencies he has employed, and the 
apparent delays of his coming. Perplexities and difficulties have, in- 
deed, occurred. They arise from the vast compass of the design itself. 
That sweeps beyond the bounds of human sight ; yes, and of angel ken 
also. Angels are looking into the mysteries of redemption, and con- 
templating the progress of the Divine plans with an interest as intense 
as our own. To them is continually made " known the manifold wis- 
dom of God." But the intricacies of the drama shall be unfolded, and 
the catastrophe bring into full view the perfections of God ; and those 
over which the slightest veil has been cast shall shine forth in their 
own splendour. Wisdom, and justice, and mercy, will then appear in 
unstained sanctity and glory ; and the end will make its appeal to 
every principle of right feeling in the bosom of every intelligence, and 
be gazed upon for ever with awful delight, and rich, but trembling, sat- 
isfaction. Though the day of the world's duration has been overcast, 
and fearful storms have raged through many of its hours, yet " at even- 
tide it shall be light." Then shall the kingdom of Christ be universal, 
and the lines of Providence, so numerous and perplexed, shall meet 
and concentrate in the glories of the latter days. Then shall the dead 
rise, and publicly all enemies be put under Messiah's feet. Then vice 
shall meet its just punishment, and persevering righteousness its high 
reward. " Then cometh the end." The world, the scene of all these 
contests, shall be swept away, but it shall not be forgotten. No, 
brethren ; every age, every scene of it shall be remembered, as illus- 
trations, felicitous or fearful, of the mercy or justice of God, in the 
everlasting joys or woes of the saved or the lost of the immortal race 
of man. 

2 



24 THE MOUNTAIN OF THE lOED's HOUSE. [sEEMON IV. 

II. The text calls us to consider the state of the general Church of 
God in the last days. " The mountain of the Lord's house shall be 
established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the 
hills; and all nations shall flow unto it." 

Some have considered this as a prediction of the actual rebuilding 
of the temple, and the restoration of the political and Church state of 
the Jews, in the close of the latter days of the times of the Messiah. 
I shall not discuss the difficult question of the literal interpretation of 
such prophecies as these. Nor would such an interpretation, even if 
allowed, at all interfere with that in which all agree, and on which I 
shall dwell, that, whatever else the prediction may signify, it sets forth, 
under figures taken from the Levitical institutions, the future state of 
the general Church of Christ, which, though in too many places cor- 
rupt, is not forgotten by its Head. For the principle which leads to 
such an interpretation, we have no less authority than that of the 
Apostle Paul, who uniformly considers the temple, its priests, and its 
ritual, as types of heavenly things ; and in one well-known passage 
makes use of them to characterize the true Church of Christ. " But 
ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the 
heavenly Jerusalem." In this text the Church of Christ bears the 
name of Sion ; angels are its ministers, as of old ; here is the general 
assembly of the true Israel ; here God is Judge or King of all ; here is 
the High Priest in the person of Jesus, the Mediator of the new cove- 
nant; here, the blood which "speaketh better things than that of Abel." 
Behold, then, the key to the text. The mountain of the Lord's house 
is no longer covered with ruins, but established in the top of the hills. 
It is the place, as of old, of glad and holy resort ; and the enlightening 
law goes forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 
In other words, we have the Jewish Church, in her ancient splendour, 
set before us ; the towers of her holy house glittering above the tops 
of the mountains, and all her services in perfection and order : and all 
this, as the symbol of the general Church of Christ in the close of the 
last days ; a view already realized in some small degree, but which 
presents its fulness to our hope. We learn from it, 

1. That the Church shall be restored to evangelical order and beauty : 
it shall be as Mount Zion. 

Zion was the place of sacrifices ; the place where God for ages 
showed the great principle that without shedding of blood there was 
no remission of sin. And in the last days the true sacrifice shall be 
exhibited here. There shall be no denial of the Lord that bought us ; 
no display of human merit ; all the rites of the Church, and all her 
members, shall cry, " Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the 
sin of the world." 

Mount Zion was the throne of majesty. And in coming to the 
evangelical Zion we come to God as the universal Sovereign and 
Judge. In the latter days, Gospel law will shine there as brightly as 
Gospel grace. The Antinomian error, whose faith makes void the law, 
shall be swept away equally with the reasoning pride which tramples 
under foot the blood of the covenant, and the pharisaic self sufficiency 
which leaves it unapplied. 

Zion was the mountain of holiness. And in these glorious days holy 
shall all they be who name the name of Christ. Godly discipline shall 



SEKMON LV.] THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LOED's HOUSE. 25 

be restored, and the yoke of Christ be borne and loved. Then shall 
the Church present, in a higher sense than ever, "a chosen generation, 
a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people." 

Zion was the special l-esidence of God. He has said, " This is my 
rest for ever ; here will I dwell." When the temple was solemnly dedi- 
cated to him by Solomon, he condescended to come down and take 
possession of it ; and on the day of pentecost he took possession of the 
Church. Never, indeed, has he altogether departed from it ; but in 
the latter days, there shall be special manifestations of his presence in 
richer displays of vital power, rilling every service with energy, and 
causing all his people to walk in the light of his countenance. 

To this state we are ever to labour to bring the Church ; avoiding, 
ourselves, all that is inconsistent with truth in doctrine and holiness 
in life. For the richer effusions of grace on ourselves, and on all who 
name Christ's name, we are earnestly to pray, that " the Spirit being 
poured out from on high, the barren wilderness may become a fruitful 
field." 

2. We learn that the Church, in this state, shall be distinguished by 
its zeal. " Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the 
Lord from Jerusalem." 

So it was in the best estate of the Jewish Church. The law went 
forth from Zion. Greater effects, doubtless, were produced by this 
than we can now tell. We know not how far this sacred light ex- 
tended, nor how much it checked error and idolatry. Truth is mighty ; 
and though we know it was opposed, yet did it in many instances pre- 
vail, and, at any rate, prevented the clouds, of falsehood from closing 
over Judea, and thus wrapping the entire world in night. 

Still mightier, however, shall be the power, still greater the effect, 
when the Church is brought into the state we are now contemplating. 
See, in illustration of this, how she is at present situated. Look at 
the position she occupies in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in America. 
Suppose every part of the nominal Church to be thus restored, and the 
Divine word rushing forth as on the wings of the wind, how speedily 
would every Jand be visited, every soul enlightened ! 

But beside this interesting view, this part of the text is fruitful both 
in instruction and admonition. We have the picture of " many people, 
saying, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and he will 
teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths." How delightful 
the scene on which we thus gaze ! But how is it brought about ? Mark 
the connecting particle. They shall thus say, " For out of Zion shall 
go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." This is 
our work. The Gospel is to be preached in all nations ; and till you 
send forth the law, they will not say, " Come, and let us go up to the 
mountain of the Lord." On your exertions, under God, this is made 
to depend. 

We thus see the connection between the best state of the Church, 
and this holy zeal. All history proves this. Whenever the Jewish 
Church contented herself with the name of living, but was indeed dead, 
then were the Gentiles overlooked or hated ; but in better times she 
prayed, " That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health 
among all nations." So was it in the first age of the Church. Walk. 
ing in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, the 

2 



26 THE MOUNTAIN OF' THE LORD'S HOUSE. [SERMON LV. 

Churches were multiplied. And so it is now. True zeal is the fruit 
of genuine and fervent piety. Where piety is not, there is no godly 
zeal ; and where there is no zeal there is no piety. A religious so- 
ciety destitute of zeal can be no part of the Church established in the 
top of the mountains. No glory is brought by it to the Lord of the 
Church ; his dominions are not enlarged ; wanderers are not reclaimed. 
When a Church is right with God, then does it exemplify this part of 
the text : " Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the 
Lord from Jerusalem." Carefully cultivate your own piety, and we 
may then look for all the rest. 

III. We call your attention to certain special operations of God, by 
which the efforts of his restored Church to bless and save the world 
shall be rendered effectual. 

Without God, let us never forget, not all the efforts of the Church, 
even in her best state, can be effectual. The triumphant spread of 
truth, and the conversion of men, are eminently the work of God ; a 
work which, when wrought, shall make the hand of God clearly visible. 
This operation is strikingly expressed in the text. 

1. He shall judge among the nations. 

The word "judge" is not always used in its purely judicial sense, 
but in that of government, — the exercise of regal power both in mercy 
and judgment ; and in this sense we here take it. He shall so order 
the affairs of the world, that opportunities shall be afforded to his 
Church to exert herself for its benefit. And thus is he judging among 
the nations in our own day. Where is the place to which he is not 
giving his Church access 1 Christian Churches exist in America, and 
can reach all its pagan tribes. Christian and Protestant colonies spot 
the continent of Africa, and every where the door is opening to new 
regions. The Greek Church holds a commanding position in the midst 
of Mohammedanism, and extends her dominion over the vast wilds of 
Tartary. A British empire is established in India, and is pouring a 
flood of light upon that land of darkness. The voyages of Cook opened 
the way to the islands of the Pacific Ocean ; and the late hazardous 
enterprizes, the voyages to the secluded ice-bound regions of the north, 
will bring every scattered tribe of Arctic residents to our knowledge, 
that so, not a wandering sheep in the whole world may be unvisited, 
or uninvited into the Shepherd's fold. 

2. It is a part of the regal office to show mercy ; and thus, too, shall 
he "judge among the nations." 

This he shall do by taking off those judicial desertions which, as a 
punishment for unfaithfulness, he has inflicted. This is an awful and 
mysterious subject. Yet is it fact that " in times past he suffered all 
nations to walk in their own ways." " The times of this ignorance 
God winked at ;" did not regard them by way of interposition. "When 
they knew God, they glorified him not as God," and therefore were 
they "given up." But, in the exercise of his great prerogative, he 
shall visit them once again. He shall give the word, and great shall 
be the company of the preachers. His servants shall go forth, enter- 
ing at every open door, and publishing truth and peace. And when 
the voice of many people is heard, saying, " Let us go up to the house 
of the God of Jacob," the Churches shall glorify God, and say, « Then 
hath he" again " granted unto the Gentiles repentance unto life " 
2 



SERMON IV.] THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LOED's HOUSE. 27 

"He shall judge among the nations." He shall do this judicially, 
yet not for destruction, but correction. There are two sorts of judg- 
ments ; judgments of wrath, and judgments of mercy. The prophet 
seems elsewhere to allude to both. " Lord, when thy hand is lifted 
up, they will not see." Such is the case in judgments without special 
grace. Such are many of those calamities which have already shaken 
the earth ; and yet, no moral ends seem to have been accomplished by 
them, except so far as others view them as examples and warnings. 
" But they shall see." When grace is given with judgments, then do 
they become corrective and salutary; and when such "judgments are 
abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteous- 
ness." 

3. It is, therefore, added, " And shall rebuke many people ;" or, ac- 
cording to Lowth's translation, "work conviction among them." 

And may we not hope that this is approaching ? For mark the time 
when he shall thus judge ; even when the law goes forth out of Zion, 
and his word from Jerusalem. And thus is the word gone forth. The 
connection of judgment with its intention that word clearly discovers. 
God thus works conviction of the evil of sin, of the folly of idolatry, 
the guilt of infidelity ; a full, universal conviction that nothing but sub- 
mission to God, and faith in Christ, can make the world happy. And 
when the law shall thus be sent forth universally, when the Church 
shall have sent her messengers into all lands, and opened the gates of 
her sacred sanctuary to the world ; when judicial blindness is removed, 
and every providence, and every judgment, strikes the intended moral 
home to the heart ; when the Spirit of God, abundantly poured out, 
spreads his enlightening and softening influence ; then shall the joyful 
sound spread from lip to lip, from family to family, from land to land, 
" Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house 
of the God of Jacob ; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will 
walk in his paths." Then shall be seen the flow of nations into the 
Church. A few streams have been already directed thither, but this 
shall be the general flow. The tide of people, long flowing from God, 
shall turn, and flow back to him. One people after another shall come 
till none be left behind, and the whole world bows at the footstool of 
Jehovah. God, hasten this time ! " Let the people praise thee ; 
yea, let all the people praise thee." 

The text is followed by a verse which suggests the concluding lesson 
to ourselves. " O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the 
light of the Lord." Even while waiting for the glorious period de- 
scribed and promised in the preceding prophecy, the Church is called 
to "walk in the light of the Lord." 

1. Walk by this light of truth yourselves. 

2. Set the glory of these splendid scenes before you, and let them 
encourage you to increasing exertions for the spread of truth, holiness, 
and love throughout the earth. 

2 



28 JERUSALEM ABOVE. [SEBMON LVI. 

Sermon LVI. — Jerusalem Above. 



" But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all," Gal. 
iv, 26. 

There are typical persons, as well as things, in the Old Testament ; 
and we are indebted to the writings of St. Paul for an explication of 
several, which, in themselves, and in their relations to ourselves, are 
highly important. Thus is Abraham described as the father of all true 
believers, because Isaac was the fruit of a Divine promise, and preter- 
naturally born ; and Sarah, in reference to the same principle, as " the 
mother of us all." The Jews claimed to be the Church of God, be- 
cause of mere fleshly descent. The apostle argues, that, because they 
had nothing else to plead, they were typified by Ishmael, who was cast 
out of Abraham's family ; and so their type was not Sarah, a free 
woman, but the bond woman, Hagar, whose seed could not inherit. 
" Which things," we are told, " are an allegory," representing " the 
two covenants," one being given from Mount Sinai, the other wonder, 
fully opened to us on Calvary. "The one, from the Mount Sinai, 
which gendereth to bondage;" the other, proceeding from the spirit- 
ual Sion, or Jerusalem, leading to " the glorious liberty of the children 
of God." For, according to the ancient (and, indeed, the modern) rule 
of slavery, the children follow the condition of the mother, whether 
bond or free, so the Jews are represented as though belonging to Mount 
Sinai, which had also the name of Agar, signifying a rock, " and an- 
swering to the Jerusalem which now is," as the Jews had made it, 
having turned from all that was evangelical in their own law, and con- 
verted even their sacrifices into mere human works, instead of making 
them, as of old time, expressions of faith. But of Christians the apostle 
speaks as being the children of the Church, the true spiritual Jerusalem, 
and therefore free, as being born of a free mother. " But Jerusalem 
which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." 

Having thus opened the connection of these words, I propose to call 
your attention, 

I. To St. Paul's description of the Church of Christ, as it exists in 
the present world : "Jerusalem, above, and free." 

II. To the filial sentiment with which we ought to regard it. She 
is " the mother of us all." 

III. To the animating anticipations we are thus taught to form of 
the Church, as glorified. 

I. Jerusalem, which is above and free. 

1. Above ; that is, seen in connection with God, and the scenes of 
the heavenly world. 

The Church is the only institution among men directly of Divine 
appointment. The visible Church of the Jews had this character ; but 
that has passed away. The same hand built the Christian Church. 
Its laws, its services, its ministers, its discipline, its festivals, are all 
from God. In every thing else we see man ; whether government, 
laws, or institutions of any kind. But here we see God. » Jerusalem 
which is above." 
2 



SERMON LVI.] JERUSALEM ABOVE. 29 

Her Head is from above. While Christ was on earth, of whom was 
his Church composed ? Of a few simple, half-instructed men who fol- 
lowed him, — him a persecuted and suffering man. Yet even then he 
could say of himself, " The Son of man which is in heaven ;" and, " I 
came down from heaven." What a glory thus rested upon all this 
humble appearance ! When he ascended to heaven, he took his seat 
above ; but the bond of connection is not broken. He is still the Head 
of his Church ; and though it be composed of humble men, often of 
persecuted men, yet is Christ, their Head, in heaven, bringing his many 
sons to glory. Yes, and putting down kings or setting them up ; break- 
ing, or blessing the nations, giving peace, or causing trouble, that he 
may first purify his Church, and then make it a praise in the earth. 

If we take the Church as a whole, though it is in part on earth, yet 
the greater number of its members are in heaven. Ever since the first 
age, there have always been more in heaven than on earth. When 
our Lord's Church was composed only of a handful of disciples, and 
his flock indeed a " little flock," even then there were patriarchs, and 
prophets, and saints above, all living to the God of Abraham, and of 
Isaac, and of Jacob ; " for God is not the God of the dead, but of the 
living." And when the more numerous members were wasted and 
scattered, a disciple might, as John, be introduced above, and permitted 
to behold " a great multitude whom no man could number ;" and in- 
quiring, " What are these ? and whence came they ?" to receive the 
reply, " These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have 
washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." 
And to that great number, what multitudes have been added, and are 
still adding ! What a glorious thought ! You are a few ; they, a vast 
multitude. You are hard toiling ; they are at rest. You are strug- 
gling in the contest ; they enjoy the victory. You are sorrowing ; 
they are exulting. But, great as the differences appear, it is our own 
Church still. The grace which is in us leads to glory. We are heirs, 
as well as they, though not yet in possession, as they are. The love 
which has glorified them is the same love which is fixed on us. Let 
us be faithful unto death ; we, too, shall then be finally victorious ; we, 
too, shall wear the crown, and possess the kingdom; we, too, shall join 
to sing the same song, to swell the same chorus. 

Our Jerusalem is above, because her members all fix their affections 
there, and thither tend, as to the great end of their profession. If a 
man has no other reason for being a Christian than the mere custom 
of the country in which he dwells, that is not a Scriptural one. True 
Christianity begins and goes on with entire reference to things Divine 
and heavenly. Its very first movements refer to the wrath to come, 
from which there is the desire to flee ; and to the blessedness to come, 
the attainment of which is sought with the whole heart. Faith in 
Christ is exercised in reference to eternal life. Holiness is the meet- 
ness for "the inheritance of the saints in light." Christian diligence 
is exercised, that we " may be found of him in peace, without spot, and 
blameless." Fear, "lest a promise being left us of entering into rest, 
any of us should seem to come short of it." Hope "enters into that 
within the veil." Joy refers to " the glory of God." Courses of dut)r, 
— what are they but a running for the prize, " which the Lord, the 
righteous Judge, shall give in that day ?" And let me remind you that 

2 



30 JERUSALEM ABOVE. [SEKMON LTI. 

without this Christianity is a name empty and fruitless ; and that, in 
proportion as Christian truth lives and acts in you, it must rouse you 
to seek the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is 
God. 

2. And Jerusalem which is above is free, and, therefore, so are her 
children. 

From the bondage of seeking salvation as by works of law ; from 
the guilt of sin ; from its dominion : and thus have they the delightful 
prospect of being made partakers of that " glorious liberty" which " the 
children of God" enjoy in heaven. But the text, 

II. Calls our attention to those filial sentiments with which the 
Christian Church is to be regarded by us : she is " the mother of us 
all ;" and therefore our feelings toward her are to be those of children 
toward a venerable parent, from whom being, nature, care, and disci- 
pline, have been derived. 

The general idea presented to us is, that, if we are indeed spiritual, 
under God, we owe all to the Church. Even from the time of Abra- 
ham, she has shone as the light of the world. Where else do we see 
light ? All is dark beyond. To her God has committed the preser- 
vation of his truth ; for unto her have been committed the oracles of 
God. This truth her ministers have proclaimed ; for it her confessors 
have suffered, her champions earnestly contended. Her sages have 
studied it for you ; and the precious pearl, undiminished in value, is 
all your own. In stormy seasons she has sheltered her lamps in the 
recesses of the sanctuary ; and in happier times has placed them on 
high to guide and save. Her ministry has been transmitted down to 
us, because the Lord of the harvest, mindful of his own promise, hath 
continued himself to send forth labourers into his vineyard. And thus 
is there continued to us that wondrous instruction, which, if weak in 
itself, is mighty through God, to which you owe the salvation of your 
own souls, and the caution and comfort with which you are enabled to 
walk. And the Spirit of God is in the Church. This is its distin- 
guishing, as well as crowning, blessing. " Cry out and shout, thou in- 
habitant of Zion ; for great is the holy One of Israel in the midst of 
thee." Thus is her sacred volume full of living and saving words ; 
thus is her ministry with power ; and thus are her ordinances " wells 
of salvation," out of which water is drawn with joy. To the Church 
you owe your hallowed friendships. Through her you have the com- 
munion of saints, the care of others for you, and their earnest prayers 
on your behalf. To the Church, as obeying the solemn command of 
God, you owe your Sabbaths, those blessed days of holy rest. And in 
the Church it is that God manifests himself. His power and glory 
are in his sanctuary ; there are the blessings of his grace received ; 
there the mysteries of his providence understood, so far as they may 
be understood in this world. Take the Church away, and you have 
removed the salt of the earth, the light of the world. 

Then, as your mother, honour and love the Church. Make no broils 
nor divisions in her family. Listen to her voice ; it is always the 
voice of love. Follow her godly discipline ; it is established for your 
advantage. 

III. We now turn to the animating anticipations of the Church, as 
glorified, with which the text furnishes us. 
2 



SERMON LVI.] JERUSALEM ABOVE. 31 

The ground of this is, the typical character both of Zion and Jem- 
salem. Of this sufficient indications are found in the Old Testament. 
" Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion." " Walk about 
Zion, and go round about her : tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well 
her bulwarks, consider her palaces ; that ye may tell it to the genera- 
tion following. For this God is our God for ever and ever : he will 
be our guide even unto death." And so in the New Testament : "But 
ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the 
heavenly Jerusalem." The ultimate reference of all this is to the 
heavenly state of the Church ; for in the book of Revelation we see 
the type of the city of God on earth realized in the city of God in 
heaven. And if of the earthly type it could be said, " Glorious things 
are spoken of thee, city of God," how much more of the reality 
above ! Let us, then, turn to the description of it, given to us in the 
twenty-first chapter of the Revelation. 

1. Mark the "wall, great and high;" denoting the perfect, impreg- 
nable security of those who dwell there. 

When the gates are said to be " not shut at all by day," and " there 
is no night there," the same idea of absolute security is presented. — 
The gates of that city never need to be closed ; for no enemy can even 
approach it. 

2. At the gates are angels ; still ushering in the heirs of salvation, 
and disdaining not to be as porters to this glorious city. 

Both here and there we come to an .innumerable company of angels. 
And these gates fronted the four cardinal points, three each way, de- 
noting the influx from all nations. It is not the city of a party, but of 
redeemed man. The size of the city, intimated by the certain number 
of furlongs, — twelve thousand on each side, while Babylon, the largest 
city in the world, was only four hundred and eighty furlongs in cir- 
cumference, — intimates to us the vast number of its saved inhabitants. 

3. Mark the foundations, " garnished with all manner of precious 
stones ;" a statement implying permanency, and thus a marked con- 
trast with the proud cities which man has erected, to be the capitals 
of some earthly monarchies. 

This is the capital of the kingdom of our Lord Christ, the kingdom 
composed of the spiritual subjects redeemed and subdued by his grace 
and love. We ask for Nineveh, and its place is not found ; for Baby- 
lon, and we only find the literal accomplishment of the prophetic 
description, " heaps, and a dwelling place for dragons, without an in- 
habitant ;" for ancient Rome, and we see the civilized world going to 
wonder as its ruins, and read the plain inscription of grandeur and 
vanity. But this city hath undecaying foundations ; God is the Build- 
er and Maker, and her glory shall never fade. 

4. Mark the circumstance, that in the twelve foundations are in- 
scribed the names of the twelve apostles ; the whole being the result 
of their doctrine, the doctrine of Christ crucified, of atonement for sin, 
for they are specially mentioned as "apostles of the Lamb." 

This seems to be indicated by the continued use of the number 
twelve, either simply, or multiplied into itself. There are twelve gates ; 
twelve angels ; twelve tribes of the spiritual Israel ; twelve foundations ; 
twelve thousand furlongs ; and the height, twelve times twelve, — one 
hundred and forty-four cubits. These symbols teach us the harmony 

2 



32 JERUSALEM ABOVE. [SERMON LVI. 

and proportion of the city. They will show that the will, the plan, the 
purpose, of the great Builder, though opposed in this world, (and hence 
its disorder,) shall there be impressed upon every thing, and upon every 
being. But they teach us more. They bring before us the result of 
the labours of the glorious twelve, the twelve apostles of the Lamb ; in 
other words, of that pure Christianity which they taught. False, cor- 
rupted Christianity can send no citizens there. All this glory springs 
from the religion of the New Testament alone. What a monument to 
its honour ! And are we to be ashamed of avowing it 1 Shall we take 
an error, however gaudy, in its place ? Shall we be moved by the sneers 
of infidelity, the cavils of skepticism, the contempt of the wisdom of 
this world ? See, for this you can see, the monument which true re- 
ligion raises in the renewed heart. See those which it has raised and 
is still raising, in the world. But in this glorious city you have the 
eternal monument erected to the praise of the glory of the Divine grace 
and wisdom. In the multitude of its inhabitants you see " the nations 
of them which are saved ;" the pardoned, the sanctified, the glorified. 

5. There are some other interesting circumstances, on which, how- 
ever, we can but touch. 

" And I saw no temple therein." The whole city is a temple, all 
filled with the presence and glory of God. No holiest of all is there, 
where every part is most holy. "The Lord God almighty, and the 
Lamb, are the temple of it." All are filled, and sanctified, and beati- 
fied, by his intimate and fully-manifested presence. God is all in all ; 
all things in and to all. " And the city had no need of the sun, neither 
of the moon, to shine in it." And the expression may be taken lite- 
rally. To this city may the promise be fitly applied, " But the Lord 
shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God, thy glory." What 
wonderful splendour was that which, penetrating the very body of our 
Lord, when he was transfigured, and " his face did shine as the sun, 
and his raiment was white as the light !" But take the expression 
spiritually. There shall no longer be the lower light of instrumental 
instruction. It is therefore said, " And they need no candle," in allu- 
sion to the lamps of the sanctuary. The glimmering truth of Judaism, 
though like a lamp shining in a dark place, gave place to the light of 
Christianity, fitly compared to the great luminaries of heaven, the word 
and ordinances of our religion. But in this city God is himself the 
light, by the more immediate communications of a special revelation. 
Unclouded light shall thus be cast on every subject to which thought 
can turn. And " the nations of them that are saved" are there. Even 
here the communion of saints is delightful. When we see exalted 
goodness now, we " glorify God" because of those in whom it is found. 
What then shall be the effect of the mutual intercourse and influence 
of the whole company of the saved of the Lord ? Then, there is the 
constant influence of the Holy Spirit, imaged by " a pure river of water 
of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the 
Lamb." While by the river is " the tree of life," for the eternal pre- 
servation of health. The saints shall be for ever kept from falling. — 
And there shall be " the throne of God and of the Lamb ;" and " his 
servants shall serve him," attending on their great Sovereign ; they 
shall themselves " reign for ever and ever " in the highest glory and 
felicity ; and " they shall see his face," the final object of believers in 
2 



SERMON LVII.] DESIGN OF THE PROMISES OF GOD. 33 

all ages, "seeing him as he is ;" and so shall they "be like him," so 
transformed into the same image that " his name shall be in their fore- 
heads." And thus shall they be fully free from every part of the penalty 
of sin ; and, all the former things being done away, God shall dwell 
with them, and they with God, for ever and ever. 



Sermon LVII. — The Design of the Promises of God. 



" Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises ; that by 
these ye might be partakers of the Divine nature," 2 Peter i, 4. 

If we look at man as he now is, a fallen creature, it is hard to con- 
ceive that human nature ever bore the image of God. Was that earthly 
mind ever a heavenly one ? Did that dark, gross, and malignant nature 
ever walk in the light of truth ? Did it ever glow with unmixed bene- 
volence ? Was it ever beautified by holiness ? But for the testimony 
of God himself, we should never have thought that when the searching 
eye of Him who cannot be deceived, fell upon the prototype of man, he 
pronounced him very good. 

But if man has fallen, can he rise? Of restoration, indeed, all men 
have had some hope. The most of them, however, looked not for this 
till the soul should be discharged from matter, which they considered 
as necessarily evil. Others have expected it in this life, but only in a 
very low and imperfect degree. 

The Gospel alone places this glorious possibility full before us. — The 
seat of sin is in the soul, not the body ; and the soul shall be renewed 
in righteousness. Nor is it a low and partial attainment to which we 
are called. It is to be a redemption worthy of the price which pur- 
chased it ; a work worthy of its great agent, God ; a new creation ; 
an elevation, not to any standard found in man himself, but to one far 
above him. The promises were given, the text tells us, that we might 
be partakers of the Divine nature. So it was at first. Man was 
created in the image of God. And so it shall be again. Man shall 
be renewed in the image of Him that created him, in righteousness and 
true holiness. 

My brethren, let us look steadfastly at this great hope set before us. 
If it ever is to become ours, we must earnestly aspire after it, and strive 
for so great a prize. But let us first endeavour to conceive aright of 
this branch of God's mercy to us in the Gospel ; then shall our faith 
rest upon a sure ground, and our hope be stimulated by a definite and 
apprehended object. 

We inquire then, 

I. In what sense we are to be partakers of the Divine nature ; and, 

II. How the value of the promises of the Gospel is displayed by their 
connection with this end. 

I. In the Divine nature are attributes properly incommunicable ; 
such as cannot, in the nature of things, be imparted ; such as cannot be 
even imitated by creatures. It is peculiar to him to exist in and from 
himself, resting upon the moveless rock of his own eternal sufficiency ; 

Vol. II. 3 



34 DESIGN OF THE PROMISES OF GOD. [SERMON LVII. 

while a creature is a dependent being, and ever must remain so. It is 
peculiar to him to be from everlasting to everlasting. Even though 
our own being shall have no end, we shall fill but hall' the round of vast 
eternity. It is peculiar to him to have supreme dominion. This can- 
not be shared ; for then it would not be supreme. This supremacy of 
dominion is included in the import of the term, God ; and whatever 
power other beings may possess, they have it from him ; in subordina- 
tion to him they hold it ; and for the use of it, they must give account 
to Him that is higher than they. Absolute perfection, that which is 
liable to no injury, admits of no diminution, is capable of no advance- 
ment, is peculiar to him. In the creature there is no perfection which 
is not liable to decrease, on the one hand, and capable of increase on 
the other. — Finite cannot equal infinite. 

It is, then, in moral attributes that we are to look for this participa- 
tion of the Divine nature ; in those which, indeed, constitute the very 
glory of that nature ; the others being adorable as they are exercised 
and employed by a perfect wisdom, rectitude, and love. But let it be 
here observed, that the promise is not that we shall be raised into 
something like God ; some mere imitation of what is morally perfect 
in him. Such, often, is mere human virtue, the fruit of education or 
example ; that which is cultivated from motives of honour or interest. 
A flower, this, without a living root ; a mere surface show of excel- 
lence, unconnected with conscience or piety. We are to be partakers 
of the Divine nature. There is to be a communication on the part of 
God, and a reception on our own, of those principles on which all that 
is pure and holy in God may be said to depend ; a communication con- 
tinued to us, on which the growth and permanency of those principles 
rest. Such is the doctrine of Scripture. We are not left to human 
imitation, but have the promise of a Divine communication : a differ- 
ence this, as great as the imitation of the sun in the heavens, by paint- 
ing his beams on canvass, and the reflection of his image as formed 
on the moon and planets, which receive his light, imbibe his influence, 
and in their various degrees partake of his nature. 

The moral nature of God, thus to be participated by believers, may 
be summed up in the three terms, knowledge, holiness, and love. On 
each of these we may briefly dwell. 

1. Knowledge. 

The power of knowing is the property of spiritual beings. It is 
not merely to perceive, in the low degree which belongs to irrational 
animals, but to apprehend, to remember, to compare, to infer, and from 
particular, to bring out general, truths, which are to be laid up in the 
mind for meditation or action. In this respect, all rational creatures 
bear an image, though a faint one, of God the infinite intelligence.— 
That knowledge, however, in which St. Paul says we are created anew, 
after tl.3 image of God, is not mere intellectual capacity. This we 
may have before this spiritual renovation ; and though, in this world, 
religion may profitably exercise it, it is not always that even religion 
improves it. This knowledge is the knowledge of things as good or 
evil, as right or wrong, as tending or not tending to our own happiness, 
and that of the whole creation. Infinitely perfect is this knowledge 
in God. He cannot mistake the nature and tendencies of things ; and 
it is this which gives his laws their perfection. He cannot enjoin evil, 
2 



SERMON LYII.] DESIGN OF THE PROMISES OF GOD. 35 

and he restrains us from nothing good. What he commands, is neces- 
sary ; what he inhibits, prejudicial to our own welfare, and the har- 
mony and blessedness of the whole universe of beings. But man has 
lost this knowledge ; and the consequence is sin, disorder, and misery, 
both in himself and in the world. Every act of a sinner is a stab to 
his peace and real interest, and to those of society at large. These 
precious promises, however, open to us the restoration of what we 
have lost. God himself, by his own revelations, " hath showed thee, 
O man, what is good." He has marked the moral differences of 
things, in order to our choice of that which is excellent. And by the 
indwelling of his teaching Spirit, opening these truths to our mind, 
and rendering us discerning to apply them, he makes us partake, in 
our degree, of his own knowledge, his infallible judgment of things. 
Then it is that we walk in the light. Our path becomes an open path. 
We no more put good for evil, or evil for good. We are no more 
cheated and deluded by mere appearances. We find a sure way for 
our feet, and so are enabled to escape the snares of death. 

2. Holiness. 

This is essential to God. It is that principle in him, whatever it 
may be, which has led him to prescribe justice, mercy, and truth, and 
to prohibit their contraries under penalties so severe ; that principle^ 
which is more than a mere approval of the things which he enjoins ; 
which makes him love righteousness, so that his countenance doth 
behold the upright with complacency, and the wicked with such dis- 
pleasure and abhorrence, that even their prayer is an abomination; 
that, for the restoration of which among his creatures, he sent his own 
Son into the world. This we call holiness. 

The holiness of a creature, as to actions, is, conformity to the will 
of God, which is the visible declaration of his holy nature. That con- 
formity implies justice, a rendering to all their due ; — a large duty, re- 
ferring, not only to man, but likewise to God, to whom are to be given 
the honour and worship he requires from us : perfect truth and since- 
rity in every thing, so that all outward acts shall concur with the heart, 
and the heart with them : and the strict regulation of every temper 
and appetite, so that they may be kept within the bounds prescribed, 
beyond which they become impurity and sin. But there must be prin- 
ciple from which all this must flow, or it is only external and imitative ; 
and that principle is found only in the new man, that which comes 
from this participation of the Divine nature. It is that new disposition 
and tendency of all his faculties and affections, produced by the inward 
working of the Spirit of God, which makes him approve of what is 
right, and true, and excellent, universally, and disapprove of what is 
contrary. This sacred influence lays hold of the will, and so causes 
the will to lay hold of whatever is holy ; it lays hold of the affections, 
and holiness thus becomes a delight, an object of love, desire, and en- 
joyment. This is the state to which the Gospel calls us, so that our 
regard to holiness is not to be partial and unsteady, or implying a cold 
approbation of wh;, i is right, but full and affectionate, flowing from the 
new nature which God gives, and which God must by his presence 
sustain. Thus shall we be holy in all manner of conversation. 

3. But the Divine nature is love. 

Who can doubt this, when he sees the happiness of the creatures 

2 



36 DESIGN OF THE PROMISES OF GOD. [SERMON LVII. 

so manifestly the end of their creation ? when we can trace all misery 
to another source ? when we see the mercies he mixes with his judg- 
merits, alwavs bringing some good out of evil 1 when he spared not his 
own Son, but gave him freely for us all ? when he so condescends to 
us, is so forbearing, so slow to anger, so ready to forgive, so abundant 
in goodness and truth ? Brethren, if there be any moral beauty and 
glory in being thus like God ; if meekness is to be chosen before anger, 
patience before petulance, kindness before severity, a forgiving dispo- 
sition before implacability, a delight in the feelings and acts of bene- 
volence before the diabolical pleasure of doing ill or refusing good; 
then is it our exalted privilege thus to be partakers of the Divine na- 
ture. For resemblance to God in this particular respect comes to us 
in the same way as the rest. Our nature cannot be raised to this by 
the mere imitative virtues. These Divine virtues are the fruit of the 
Spirit, living in us, implanting his own graces, and exalting our nature 
by the infusion and mighty energy of his own vital influences. 

II. We observe, that the value of the promises of the Gospel is spe- 
cially displayed by their connection with this end. " There are given 
unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might 
be partakers of the Divine nature." 

To raise men to this state is matter of promise, and therefore of 
grace. We might have been left to the sin and degradation we had 
sought. And the promises thus given to us, all of them, suppose the 
covenant of grace. That covenant is a voluntary engagement on the 
part of God, founded in the atoning sacrifice of his Son, and by that 
sacrifice likewise ratified. The moment we embrace it by faith, it 
stands sure as to ourselves, and all its promises are our own. And 
when we consider their great design, to make us partakers of the 
Divine nature, how clearly and brightly does it display their value ! 
They appear to us of unspeakable value ; " exceeding great and pre- 
cious." 

1. They are so in respect of the honour which this great attain- 
ment puts on man. 

Think of every thing called honour which excludes this. You give 
a. man wealth, and power, and a name ; and his heart is the corrupt 
seat of evils which will make all that he possesses a curse and a shame 
to him. Belshazzar sports in his splendid hall among his fawning 
courtiers ; and the hand of God writes in blazing characters before him, 
"Thou art weighed in the balance, and art found wanting." The true 
honour of man is in that which makes him here the object of the Di- 
vine approbation and favour, and hereafter of open acknowledgment. 
Among the true servants of God, all the aspiring children of ambition 
will desire to stand at last, their too tardy judgment at length confess- 
ing that all beside this was but as dust, and lighter than vanity itself. 

2. Consider this value in respect to interest. 

What is the real interest of man, but the attainment of the favour 
and image of God ? It is not often that even our outward interests are 
disjoined from piety. Sometimes it may be so, but ordinarily, in our 
respective stations, godliness is indeed profitable to all things. It in- 
creases our happiness, and saves from many distresses. But even 
were it not so, how is it that interest is to be estimated ? Do we say 
that that which is profitable for one day is more valuable than that 
2 



SERMON LVII.] DESIGN OF THE PROMISES OF GOD. 



37 



which is profitable for our whole life? Take this, then, as your rule. 
Our life is but for a moment, our whole being is eternal ; and if we 
are partakers of the Divine nature, then are our eternal interests se- 
cured. As without holiness no man shall see the Lord, so the holy 
man shall ascend up the hill of the Lord, and dwell in his holy place. 

3. Consider this value in respect of peace. 

There can be no peace to the wicked. Every evil brings its own 
punishment with it in the disquietude which it occasions. " Can a 
man take fire in his bosom, and not be burned ?" But the peace which 
is enjoyed when we are partakers of the Divine nature is peace of 
conscience, — we know that God is reconciled to us; peace, as the 
result of the subjugation of disturbing appetites and passions ; peace, 
as the fruit of the conscious presence of God, and the testimony that 
we please him ; peace, as the effect of calm, satisfied dependence on 
God, to whom we commit our way, and on whom our mind is stayed ; 
a peace, this, which flows from the high and exhaustless fountain, 
remaining with us when other sources are dried up, and can yield us 
no supply. 

4. Consider this value in respect of usefulness. 

Knowledge is a powerful instrument of God, when prompted by be- 
nevolence, and sustained by consistency of character. And where 
there is participation of the Divine nature, there we find all these 
elements of usefulness, knowledge, holiness, and love. 

5. And, lastly, consider this value in reference to hope. 

Here alone is found true hope, the good hope through grace, the 
expectation of the righteous which shall not be cut off. Nor is this 
the hope of mere safety. It refers to the continual, eternal increase 
of the good which we enjoy. Finite can never become infinite ; and, 
therefore, a perpetual advancement in knowledge, holiness, and love, 
is spread before us. 

In conclusion, 

Recollect that you must thus partake of the Divine nature, or you 
can never have fellowship with God here or hereafter. " How can 
two walk together, unless they be agreed 1" 

Recollect, these promises are to all who seek their accomplishment 
with their whole heart. God is faithful ; nor can his word fall unful- 
filled to the earth. And these promises are addressed to us in all their 
fulness. They show us that good, and perfect, and acceptable will 
which we are called to prove, to experience for ourselves. 

Examine them, therefore. See to what blessings they refer. Be 
not in ignorance of this the good pleasure of God respecting you. 

And plead them in earnest prayer. Take with you these words in 
coming to God. In asking that his own promises to us be accom- 
plished, we ask according to his will ; and we know that if we ask 
any thing according to his will, he heareth us, and we shall have the 
petitions that we desired of him. 

2 



38 IMMUTABILITY OF GOd's COUNSELS. [SERMON LVIII. 

Sekmon LVIII.— The Immutability of God's Counsels. 

" The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all 
generations," Psalm xxxiii, 11. 

Thehe is an argument against the day of judgment, employed by 
the scoffers mentioned by St. Peter, that " all things continue as they 
were from the beginning of the creation." But what does this prove, 
even were it allowed to the full? Does it prove that all things shn'l 
continue without change, and for ever? It only proves, in the first 
place, that God is " long suffering," manifesting " the richness of his 
goodness," in his " forbearance" "toward us; and, secondly, that his 
plans are large, running through long courses of time, and that He 
who is eternal has no need to consult those measures of duration by 
which mortals regulate their affairs. " One day is with the Lord as 
a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." 

But the very objection, pointless as it is, suppose a truth at which 
all scoffers, at which sinners of every kind, may well tremble. Why 
do all things continue as they were 1 Why is (here an orderly course 
of nature ? It is because their great Ruler is himself above all change, 
and can, when he pleases, give stability to the frailest and most perish- 
ing creature, and order to the most unruly. And this is but a visible 
manifestation of his moral immutability. He is the same hater of evil, 
the same judge of the wicked "yesterday, to-day, and forever." 

To the immutability of the Divine counsels as founded upon the 
immutability of his nature, David turns in the text, and there shelters 
his own interests, and those of the Church. Let us, also, endeavour 
to derive instruction from it ; and, that the subject may be brought 
more fully before us, I shall make some remarks, 

I. Upon the Divine counoc.o generally ; and, 

II. Upon that particular view of them which the text contains : they 
stand fast "for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations." 

I. It is impossible for us to receive, as we dc from the word of God, 
authentic information that there are counsels in the Divine mind, as 
to our world, and all that dwell in it, without perceiving how much 
the revelations of this book rise above the low conceptions of even 
the wisest men of heathen antiquity, and of all who in our own day 
prefer their darkness and doubt to the light and certainty of heavenly 
truth. For, 

1. We thus know that God, who made all things, does concern him- 
self with our world ; that he has not left it to itself, as they thought 
necessary for his honour ; that his regards are not confined to what men 
call great ; that even individuals are noticed by him, as it is expressed, 
in some verses following the text, in a way that no man could have 
conceived, had not God himself declared it. " The Lord looketh from 
heaven ; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From th,e place of his 
habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fash- 
ioneth their hearts alike ; he considereth all their works." Thus do 
we know especially that " the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear 
him, upon them that hope in his mercy ; to deliver their soul from 
2 



SERMON LVIII.] IMMUTABILITY OF GOd's COUNSELS. 39 

death, and to keep them alive in famine ;" that " the hairs of . ; : ir head 
are numbered," and that " all his saints are in his hand ;" that, ;.s there 
is nothing too high for him, so nothing is too low ; for " he shall deliver 
the needy when he crieth, the poor also, and him that hath nj help- 
er :" in a word, that instead of being absorbed in his own glory, " the 
heaven of heavens cannot contain him," but " he compasseth our path, 
and our laying down, and is acquainted with all our ways." 

2. We are taught that this interposition is one of counsel ; that is, 
of deliberation and wise purpose. 

It is not the intervention of a blind power, which some have called 
fate, others, necessity ; not of an intelligence which some have fancied 
to be bound by what they call a fixed and determinate plan ; but one 
of counsel ; that which possesses infinite resources, is able to expatiate 
in them, and can vary its measures, as the highest and best considera- 
tions may require. Of this counsel, this wondrous wisdom, all nature 
is a standing indication ; but we shall see that indications yet more 
clear and impressive are furnished by the Divine government. 

Of the works of God in the material world we may indeed say, " In 
wisdom hast thou made them all." How vast and orderly is the frame 
of the world ! How accurately are its great powers balanced ! By 
what mysterious operations are the grossest elements converted into 
substances the most useful and beautiful ! And by what singular man- 
agement ii the death of winter made subservient to the life and fruit- 
fulness of summer ; and storms and tempests made to clear our atmos- 
phere, and spread invigorating health around us ! But in nature, won- 
derful as are these operations, there is nothing to resist, to repel, to 
dispute. All are his servants, and every thing fulfils his word. Iln 
saith to one, Go, and it goeth ; to another, Come, and it cometh. But 
in his moral kingdom we see a world in rebellion. There is not a 
principle naturally in our hearts, but it is a rebel principle also. Every 
affection, every will, is ready to start up in defiance, wrestling with 
his authority, and pursuing a course contrary to his commands. If 
his government were one of rigid justice only, there would be no diffi- 
culty here. Who could stand before him when he came to vindicate 
his own laws, and " avenge him of his enemies V But judgment is 
" his strange work," and mercy the delight of his administration. The 
counsel, in this case, is to make good triumph over evil, and evil itself 
the occasion of good. How adorable is that wisdom which, influenced 
by goodness, wins back a rebellious heart to love and obedience without 
violence to its freedom ! which makes our very " wickedness to correct 
us, and our backslidings to reprove us !" which raises, by secret opera- 
tion, the dark and callous element of a worldly nature, into spirituality 
and heavenly mindedness ! which turns the winter of our afflictions into 
the bloom and fruit of evangelical graces ! which makes the vanity 
of earth the instrument of placing our affections where alone true joys 
are to be found ! which, on a larger scale, subordinates the darkness 
of one age to the instruction of another ! which, when justice, long de- 
layed, must reject the Jews, sends salvation abroad among the Gentiles ! 
which, when persecutions scatter the faithful in one place, diffuses the 
seed of truth into many others ! which, when the corruptions of super- 
stition and intolerance break down the frame of society, opens, by the 
very strifes and hatred of the wicked, the long-closed door of access for 

2 



40 IMMUTABILITY OF GOD's COUNSELS. [SERMON LVIII. 

the free publication of the Gospel ! and which, finally, although by the 
mysterious permission of evil, sin hath abounded, yet makes grace 
much more abound; so that, "as sin hath reigned unto death, even 
so doth grace reign, through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus 
Christ our Lord !" Well may we say, with St. Paul, when orte branch 
of this great subject was before him, " the depth of the riches both 
of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! How unsearchable are his 
judgments, and his ways past finding out !" 

3. Let us take another view of the Divine counsels. They are 
supreme and uncontrollable. 

This it is which gives to good men so entire and joyful a confidence : 
" There is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord." 
There is, indeed, vain and even absurd as it may seem, and as it is, a 
frequent contest of counsel between the creature and God. But there 
are three circumstances which must ever stamp with weakness the 
counsels of every finite being. They are narrow and confined ; but 
his comprehend the universe and all its creatures. " It is as high as 
heaven ; what canst thou do ? deeper than hell ; what canst thou know V 
And as the counsels of the creature are bounded as to extent, so, like- 
wise, as to time. We cannot extend them beyond our foreknowledge ; 
that is very limited, and the future, in fact, quite dark to us. But God 
sees the end from the beginning ; nor can any thing surprise him as 
unexpected. Again : counsel is nothing without agency ; and how 
little of this can we command ! nothing, indeed, but what God permits : 
but he commands from the angel to the atom, and each executes his 
will. How wretched, then, the attempt to strive with God ! Of the 
beings who thus attempt, the most intellectual and subtle is probably 
Satan. In the pride of his heart he has contended against the Divine 
counsels, and partial success has been permitted, to show that God 
shall " overcome when he is judged." He has probably mistaken this 
permissive success for real power ; but has been only working his own 
downfall. As, when he appeared to triumph in the death of Christ, 
that very death deposed him, and liberated man, so shall be the grand 
issue of all his partial and temporary triumphs over truth and goodness : 
they shall terminate in his final defeat, and the illustrious accomplish- 
ment of all that he has spoken " by the mouth of his holy prophets, 
which have been since the world began." 

And this is designed to be the rock of our faith. God may have 
many secret counsels, and these secret things belong unto him ; but 
on all he has revealed we are called to rest. He declares, " My coun- 
sel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." "When he giveth 
quietness, who then can make trouble ?" Every promise, whether to 
his Church or to ourselves, rests upon this, " I have spoken it, I also 
will bring it to pass ; I have purposed it, I will also do it." We are 
to be " fully persuaded that what he has promised he is able also to 
perform ;" and so, not to " stagger at the promise of God through 
unbelief." 

" When thou wilt to work proceed, 

Thy purpose firm, none can withstand, 
Frustrate the determined deed, 
Or stay the' Almighty hand." 



SERMON LVIII.] IMMUTABILITY OF GOD's COUNSELS. 41 

II. But our text calls us to consider the stability of the Divine 
counsels. " They shall stand for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all 
generations." 

We may illustrate this, 

1. By ancient instances of the fulfilment of delayed purposes. 

It was the contemplation of this which caused the inspired writer 
to, exclaim, "Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth." And of 
this there are many illustrious examples. A son was promised to Abra- 
ham ; many years did he wait, but the child of promise was at last 
given to his waiting faith. Canaan was promised to his seed, and 
long were they held bondsmen in Egypt ; but the appointed time came, 
and they journeyed to the place of which God had said that he would 
give it them. It was by faith in the steadfastness of God's word that 
Elijah sent his servant to the top of Carmel ; nor was he discouraged, 
by the feeble sign which first appeared, but at once looked for the abun- 
dance of rain. When the period of Judah's captivity in Babylon was 
about to expire, there were no apparent circumstances which indi- 
cated the approaching deliverance. Daniel only understood by books 
the number of the years to be accomplished in the desolations of Jeru- 
salem ; but he trusted in the stability of the Divine counsel, and set 
his face to seek the Lord God by prayer and supplications. Long 
was the time which elapsed after the first promise of the seed of the 
woman, but the great salvation - at length appeared. What, then, is 
the grand moral of all such instances, but that the counsels of the Lord 
stand ? " Though the vision tarry, wait for it ; because it will surely 
come, it will not tarry." 

2. We have another illustration in the steadfastness of his holy law. 
That is itself the result of his counsel ; his perfect knowledge of us 

and our interests. It is not the mere expression of authority, but of 
wisdom too, and wisdom directed to our happiness. It is the same in 
all ages. If we carefully examine the patriarchal, Mosaic, and Chris- 
tian dispensations, we cannot doubt that. And why always the same, 
but because perfect, the result of perfect wisdom and goodness ? Go 
to the right hand or to the left, and you fall, not only into a sin, but 
into a danger or a misery. Take other maxims, and they deceive and 
betray you. Here is the steady light for the creature : love God, love 
thy neighbour. O could we more deeply impress ourselves with the 
wisdom and goodness of God's unchanging law ! It is his own judg- 
ment of what is best for us. Thus impressed, we should have but one 
aim, and through the renewal of our nature, this righteousness being 
fulfilled in us, we should say, " how I love thy law !" " Thy testi- 
monies have I taken for mine heritage for ever !" 

3. This stability is farther illustrated by the constant connection 
of .painful fear and misery with sin. 

I see a fact supported by universal and uniform experience. I see 
men miserable, but I see them sinners. If I ascend the stream of 
time to its fountain head, it is so. If I travel round the earth, it is 
still so. If I examine the lowest condition, or climb to the loftiness 
of state and majesty, still I find it so. Is this by chance ? O no! 
"The thoughts cf his heart are to all generations." "There is no 
peace to the wicked," God himself has said ; and, to say nothing of 
outward miseries, I ask you to consider that which we call conscience. 

2 



42 IMMUTABILITY OF God's COUNSELS. [sEKMON LVIII. 

There is a reproving something in every sinner's breast. He does not 
court the feeling ; he flees, but it still follows him. He forgets a while, 
but he is still obliged, by some secret law, to bring his conduct to a 
rule, and to ask what his God thinks of him ; to anticipate his final 
account, and, spite of himself, he is wretched. So God has willed ; 
willed in mercy, that you may fly to him : willed in justice, that his 
law may be feared. This you cannot alter ; for " the counsel of the 
Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations." 

4. It is illustrated by the established order of human salvation. 

I see man in all ages a sinner and miserable. But there is hope 
for him. God declares himself a Saviour. Now, we have on record 
an early example of a man passing into friendship with God. There 
is " righteous Abel :" look at his sacrifice, and see how acceptance 
with God was obtained then. It implies confession of sin, and acqui- 
escence in God's appointment to save men through the blood of atone- 
ment. And God testified that he was righteous. He was forgiven 
and assured, and became both a justified and a holy man. Ages have 
since rolled away, but still is the way of acceptance as it was formerly. 
And God will never change it. If you continue impenitent, you shall 
not be saved. If saved, it will be through faith in the great atonement, 
by which pardon, comfort, and renewal are still obtained. Lean not 
to devices of your own, but submit to his righteousness, and you shall 
know that " the thoughts of his heart," his thoughts of pity, of kind, 
forgiving love, are indeed " to all generations." 

5. This is illustrated by the uniform experience of good men. 
Take the effects of prayer. You see them in power to trust in God, 

to rejoice in him, to hold communion with him. So it w; >.3 of old, 
and so it is now. O think of this ! Do you not feel that you could 
converse of the dealings of God with Abraham, as a man of the same 
order of i'toughts and feelings as your own? Could you not thus 
converse with David ? Nay, you often do so in his Psalms. Our fa- 
thers trusted ia him, and they were not confounded ; and this God, — 
who has been the dwelling place of his people in all generations, and 
whose " righteousness is unto children's children," — "this God is our 
God lor ever and ever." 

What encouragement we thus have to trust God, not only for our- 
selves, but also as to his Church and the world ! You know not his 
particular counsels, but you do know that he has chosen Zion, and 
that the whole world shall be filled with his glory. Have faith in God. 
Even should "the kings of the earth" again "set themselves, and the 
rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his Anoint- 
ed," yet shall every valley be exalted, and every mountain and high 
hill be made low. Though all things should appear unpromising and 
gloomy, yet does the Lord sit on his throne in the heavens, and " his 
counsel standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations." 

16 



SERMON LIX.] CHKIST SEALED BY THE FATHER. 43 

Sermon LIX. — Christ sealed by the Father. 



" Labour not for the meat which porisheth, but for that meat which endureth 
unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you ; for him hath 
God the Father sealed," John vi, 27. 

In the history connected with the text our Lord is seen followed by 
multitudes, " because they saw the miracles which he did on them that 
were diseased." 

The impression made upon their minds was deepened still more by 
the miracle which followed ; the feeding 01 five thousand with the 
loaves and fishes which multiplied by his blessing under the hands of 
those who distributed the food, so that all were satisfied. 

That he was " that Prophet that should come into the world," they 
were now convinced ; and, being full of worldly views respecting the 
Messiah's kingdom, they would by force have made him their earthly 
king. He withdrew himself; they find out his retreat; and then he 
addressed to them a discourse which, in the result, showed how deeply 
miracles may affect without changing the heart ; how loyal a life might 
be to a Messiah throned in regal pomp, how rebellious still the carnal 
mind to him as God and a Saviour. They expected that he would 
have fed them, like Moses in the wilderness, with manna from heaven : 
employed riiracnlous powers only for earthly purposes ; and thta, when 
they learned that the blessings he offered were spiritual, they were 
offended, and "walked no more with him." They went "one to his 
farm, and another to his merchandise." 

" Moses," says our Lord, " gave you not that bread from heaven ; 
but my Father giveth you that true bread from heaven." "Labour 
not for the meat that perisheth ; but for that meat which endureth 'into 
everlasting life, which the Son of man giveth you ; for him hath God 
the Father sealed ;" — sealed by the miracles of which you have been 
the witnesses ; and which were wrought, not to gratify your curiosity, 
not to excite a profitless admiration, not to. confer temporal benefits ; 
but to lead you to seek those benefits of life and salvation which he 
came to bestow. 

The history of the Jews is the picture of man's heart. We are 
ourselves prone to that which we condemn in them. We too often 
admire that external array of miracles, of doctrines, and of fact, which 
our religion presents, without regarding those practical and saving 
purposes for which only it is thus placed before us ; and to guard 
against this, while we direct your attention to that which so strikingly 
accredits the ministry of Christ, shall be the object of the present dis- 
course. 

I call your attention, then, 

I. To the eminent manner in which Christ was sealed by the Fa- 
ther. 

II. To that great end for which this mighty interposition of God 
took place, — that we might " labour for that meat which endureth to 
everlasting life." 

I. Christ was sealed. 

And we are interested in this fact, or rather, series of facts, because 

2 



44 CHRIST SEALED BY THE FATHER. [SERMON 

in them we see the ground, the commanding motive, which ought to 
impel us to that practical result which our Lord would impress upon 
us. 

To seal, when the act of a public person, and especially of a sovereign, 
is to impress the characters of his own signet upon any instrument by 
which his will is declared, and which is then treated as proceeding 
from him. For as the characters are peculiar to himself, whenever 
thev are seen, they accredit whatever bears them. 

The meaning of the text, then, is sufficiently obvious. The sealing 
of Christ by the Father is seen in those mighty works, and other cir- 
cumstances accompanying his ministry, which mark a special inter- 
position and sanction from God ; and were, therefore, his public attes- 
tation and proof that he was the Son of God, the Messiah, the Saviour 
of the world. 

Many such seals were put upon the claims of our Lord ; and to a few 
of them I purpose to draw your attention, that you may feel the firm- 
ness of the ground of your faith, and be the more powerfully moved to 
commit your souls into his hands, and to seek his grace. 

1. We behold the impress of Divinity upon his doctrine. 
Separate from all that external evidence which confirms it, it carries 

with it a character, an air, a majesty, in which every unsophisticated 
mind will discern a peculiarity only attributable to God. For when I 
consider the vastness of the subjects, and the ease with which they are 
treated ; the obscure manner in which the wisest of men have always 
spoken of them, and the steady demonstrative light which brightens 
around them whenever our great Teacher opens his lips ; that exhibi- 
tion of the interior man, the secrets of the heart, which his doctrine 
discloses, so that, as in a mirror, every man on earth shall see the pic- 
ture of himself; the most anxious inquiries of men so answered as to 
leave us nothing more to ask ; — when to these I add the dignity so 
worthy of Divine majesty, the condescension so accordant with an in- 
finite love, the indignation so expressive of perfect holiness ; — I see 
upon the seal the characters peculiar to God ; and I join in that exul- 
tation which flowed from the deeply-affected hearts of them that heard 
him : " Never man spake like this man !" 

2. We have the seal of miracles. 

The impression here must be that of the signet of God ; of charac 
ters known and acknowledged to be peculiar to him, or it is nothing. 
For the character of a true miracle is not that it is merely a strange 
and wonderful occurrence, or that it is above the power of many ; but 
that it is above all human power ; and that it is so extraordinary, both 
in its nature and the time of its occurrence, as obviously to show an 
interposition of God, giving sanction to the claims of his Son. 

Such were the wondrous events by which the Father sealed the 
ministry of our Lord. For when I see diseases cured, not by applica- 
tions of art, but by a word, a touch ; elements change their nature, not 
by processes of chemistry, but at a volition, as water into wine ; when 
bread multiplies under the hands of its distributors, and five thousand 
are the witnesses ; when winds are hushed, and waves subside, at the 
authoritative mandate of an apparent human being ; when the very dead 
hear his voice, and they that hear live, come forth, and worship him ; 
and when, in addition to these characters of power, I see that of tender 
2 



SEHMON LIX.] CHHIST SEALED BY THE FATHER. 45 

benevolence, and a fitness almost as wonderful as the power; what 
can I say? Must I not exclaim, with the conquered magicians of 
Egypt, " Behold, this is the finger of God ?" and feel the irresistible 
force of the words of Nicodemus, "No man can do the miracles 
which thou doest except God be with him." 

3. We see upon our Lord the broad and striking seal of fulfilled 

prophecy. 

To many illustrious instances of this I might direct you, had we 
time ; but that upon which I shall for a moment dwell is the minute 
fulfilment of prophecy in Christ ; because here, most unequivocally, 
we see the impress of the seal of God. 

That prophecies should for the most part be general, and wrapped 
up in figure and type, is highly reasonable. They were not designed 
to gratify curiosity, nor to bring on the events they describe. The 
most general of the Divine predictions have, however, a wonderful 
particularity when explained by the events which truly accomplish 
them ; such as proves that the future was all one unclouded scene 
before the eye of the Divine prescience. To show this more plainly, 
sometimes they are as minute as at others they are general ; that we 
might feel that had He pleased, he could have made them all so. 

In proportion to the minuteness of prophecy is the evidence which 
it supplies of Divine inspiration. Had it been merely predicted that 
Babylon should fall by some foreign invader, this would scarcely have 
been prophecy ; but when Cyrus is mentioned by name, and the draw- 
ing off of the waters of the Euphrates, and the night of festivity, were 
distinctly specified, and it was declared that the city should never more 
be inhabited, the evidence is plain and irresistible. The world ex- 
pected a Divine Deliverer. To have said that he would be rejected 
of his creatures, would have been a bold conjecture ; yet even that had 
not borne the unequivocal marks of prophecy ; but when we notice 
the minuteness of the predictions, and their exact and singular fulfil- 
ment, every doubt vanishes, and we are compelled to confess the in- 
spiration of the Almighty. Ages before his appearance in the flesh, 
it was predicted that he should be born of a virgin, and in the city of 
David ; that he should not only teach, but teach with a particular air 
and manner ; for he should not cry, nor cause his voice to be heard 
in the streets ; that he should not only be persecuted, but bear his suf- 
ferings with meekness, humility, and silence, — " He is led as a lamb 
to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearer is dumb, so he 
opened not his mouth ;" that a bone of his should not be broken; that 
gall and vinegar should be presented to him to drink ; that he should 
be numbered with transgressors, and his tomb be that of a rich man ; 
and that after death he should rise again. Here is the seal of Heaven ; 
characters of a Divine prescience broad and visible, and so impressed 
upon him, that we say at once, and in the fullest confidence, " We 
have found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write, 
Jesus of Nazareth." 

4. The seals set by the Father upon the mission of his Son, even 
at his crucifixipn, next call our attention, both from their number and 
striking character. 

Yes, we refer for illustrious attestations of the Father, not merely 
when multitudes followed Christ with admiration, not when he was 

2 



46 CHRIST SEALED BY THE FATHER. [SERMON HX. 

putting forth the plenitude of his own miraculous power in his walks 
of benevolence through the land, when the lame leaped, the sightless 
eye beheld, and when demons trembled, worshipped, and fled ; but in 
the hour of his greatest apparent weakness, and deepest humiliation ; 
when the rabble cried, " Crucify him," and all his human and infernal 
enemies were exulting over him. 

We have, in this hour, the. indirect testimony of God in overruling 
others to give testimony to Christ. What meant that crowd of women, 
" bewailing and lamenting him ?" At this feast Jerusalem was filled 
with stranger Jews. These were the people principally on whom the 
high priests wrought to insult and mock. The common residents in 
the city had often heard him gladly. The men perhaps were afraid ; 
but the daughters of Jerusalem followed him weeping, when he bore 
his cross to Calvary. They had heard his discourses ; he had healed 
their relations or themselves ; he had taken their children in his arms 
and blessed them. Their tears were his testimony ; and seemed to 
wash away every rude reproach of the rabble as it fell upon his spot- 
less name. 

Even his enemies were compelled to give their testimony to him. 
What meant those words of Caiaphas, who was made to declare that 
his death was an expiatory sacrifice ; and that he, the victim, was 
therefore spotless ? Pilate was overruled tacitly to declare him the 
King of the Jews, by the inscription which he placed upon the cross. 
The soldiers about the cross mocked hiin ; but at length their com- 
mander, pagan as he was, cried, " Truly this man was the Son of God." 
And all the people that had crowded to the execution, practised upon 
as they had been by the Pharisees, when they saw the things that were 
done, " smote upon their breasts," — the action of convicted guilt, of 
alarm, and grief, — " and returned ;" and well they might ; for the things 
that were done were the Father's direct testimony ; the seals he put 
upon the Son even in that hour, the mystical import of which was at 
least generally made manifest to the beholders. 

The same signs and seals appear before us more fully revealed 
in their import. The sun sinking from his original brightness to deep 
eclipse, and then breaking forth into undiminished splendour, was a 
type of that original glory of Christ, which he hid for a time, and that 
full manifestation of the Divine majesty into which he was about to 
emerge at the resurrection. The rending of the veil of the temple 
showed that he had opened a new way to God ; and that he was to 
present the Mood of his sacrifice, and be a Priest in the higher courts 
of heaven. The earthquake seemed to indicate the changes to be pro- 
duced in the world by his doctrine ; and the rising of the dead pro- 
chimed that life was to flow from the death of our Saviour ; spiritual 
life to those that believe ; natural life to those that sleep in death. 

5. To the great seals of the resurrection and ascension of Christ 
I make no other reference than to observe that the gift of the Holy 
Ghost was the public confirmation of both ; and that this is an evidence 
which remains to this day. 

This is connected with an important consideration. It has been some- 
times hinted by the opposers of the truth, that the evidence of Chris- 
tianity must become weaker, as the facts upon which it rests are thrown 
farther back into antiquity by the lapse of time ; or that, at least, we are 
•Z 



SERMON LIX.J CHEIST SEALED BY THE FATHER. 47 

not under the same obligation to believe as if we had seen them our- 
selves. It is, however, easy to show that the evidence of the truth of 
Christianity has been increasing in strength ever since the days of its 
Divine Founder ; and that, if possible, we are under stronger obliga- 
tions to believe and obey than if we had seen our Lord himself. 

The evidence arising from prophecy becomes increasingly strong. 
Prophecies, as Lord Bacon observes, have a germinant fulfilment ; and 
many predictions of holy writ, more fully explained by the accumu- 
lated facts of history, present a stronger proof of the truth of Chris- 
tianity than they did in the age of Christ and his apostles. 

The same remark will partly apply to miracles. Ages have passed 
away since the miracles of Christ and his apostles were wrought ; 
and the experience of these ages has proved that those miracles were 
not natural, though rare, events. It proves, too, that they were not 
the effects of a secret knowledge. They are proved to be above all 
human power. 

In regard to the gifts of the Spirit, there were certain effects con- 
nected with this power, which was said to be from on high ; such as 
peace of conscience, the sense of sins forgiven, spiritual affections, the 
entire regeneration of the soul, sensible vital intercourse with God. 
Now, these effects are still found. This is the fact. Wherever they 
are found they are attributed to the power of the Holy Spirit. Even 
philosophers cannot assign for them any other adequate cause, much 
as they have tried. They ought to acknowledge the true one. It is 
even unphilosophical in them not to do so. But whether they do this, or 
not, " he that believeth hath the witness in himself." Not only have 
all believers, by the Spirit given to them, the proof of the resurrection 
and ascension of Christ ; but the seal of the Father to the Son is put 
upon their own heart, and its impress is felt in their very nature. 

We proceed to consider, 

II. The great end for which this mighty interposition of God took 
place, — that we might "labour for that meat which endureth to ever- 
lasting life." 

If Christ connected one miracle, by which the Father had sealed 
him, with this practical end, how forcibly do the whole array of seals 
and attestations press this great truth upon us, that the issue upon 
which they all bear is our salvation ; and that, if this be noi effected, 
to us they are vain and unprofitable ! 

This important practical result is figuratively expressed ; but the 
figure is suikingly illustrative of the subject to which it is applied. — 
The people appear to have followed him under the impr3ssion that he 
was the Messiah ; and that as Moses fed t'ieir fathers with manna in 
the desert, so he would, by constant miracle, supply them with food. 
" T:.ey said, therefore, unto him, What sign showest thru, that we 
may see, and believe thee ? what dost thou work ? Our fathers did eat 
manna in the desert ; as it is written, He gave them bread from hea- 
ven to eat." On this our Lord declares himself to be the true bread 
from heaven; and then more plainly expresses himself, "Ard the 
bread which I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of 
the world." 

Behold, then, brethren ; this is the true food of souls ; the meat 
which is said in the text to "endure unto everlasting life." His flesh, 

2 



48 CHRIST SEALED BY THE FATHER. [SERMON LIX. 

torn, wounded, and put to death on the cross, as the grand sacrifice 
for sin, is that from which all flows ; and which, when received by 
faith, gives life, strength, and health to the soul of man. 

1. From the sacrificial death of Christ flows our pardon ; and here 
the true life of the soul begins. 

When the sentence of death is reversed, that separation from God 
which it involved is repealed. Till then there is animal life, and in- 
tellectual life ; but not that spiritual life which, when infused, produces 
the new creature. With every degree of intellectual vigour man 
may be dead to God ; and in a state of penitence he is only quick, 
ened to feel bonds which he cannot break, and a death which he can- 
not of himself avoid. When the pardon is once pronounced, the soul 
returns to God, the source of life, and lives to him. How mighty 
is the change which then takes place ! The understanding opens 
upon God in Christ, and sees, what it never saw before, the har- 
mony and glory of all his perfections in justifying the ungodly. — 
The faith by which he claims the promises in Christ is honoured ; 
and the strength and grace of the promise flow into his heart. The 
very principles of his nature are renewed. His bonds break under 
the mighty working within ; and he bursts into the glorious liberty 
from sin. 

2. From the sacrificial death of Christ, — the flesh he gives for the 
life of the world, — flows the heavenly knowledge which is the proper 
food of the renewed mind. 

As scientific knowledge is the food of souls intelligent, so is heavenly 
knowledge the food of piety. But we know nothing religiously till 
we know God, and his designs, through him who gave his flesh for the 
life of the world. Need I stay to prove this ? Can I know how I am 
to obtain pardon, if I close my eyes upon the cross ? how emphati- 
cally God is love, if I forget that God spared not his own Son, but 
delivered him up for us al! 1 Can I interpret the promises, unless I 
know that they embody riches of grace, answering to the riches of 
the merit which purchased them ? Can I estimate the extent of my 
obedience and duty, until I enter into the truth, that I am a purchased 
man, not my own, but bought with a price, and therefore bound to glo- 
rify my Redeemer in my body and spirit which are his 1 

Then, this knowledge is the food of the soul. It leads up all the 
powers of the mind into right and vigorous exercise. Its will to 
choose, its faith to trust, its desire to breathe after God, its affections 
to love and hate whatever is loved or hated by its Saviour, are all de- 
rived through this medium. 
3. From this flows love. 

This is the mighty agent in giving life to the soul. But it flows 
only from this, — " Christ loved me, and gave himself for me."— 
This is its constant spring, and will be through eternity. Mighty is 
the working of perfect love in the regenerate heart. It casts out the 
fear which hath torment ; it unites the soul to Christ ; it fixes desire ; 
renders conscience delicately tender, by the fear of offending, which 
is the constant fear of love ; it gives one end to life. When we love, 
it is easy to labour, and easy to suffer. Gratitude is its essential ele- 
ment, and praise its ceaseless breath. 
4. From this flows purity. 
2 



SERMON LIX.] CHRIST SEALED BY THE FATHER. 49 

How purity feeds the soul, we may judge by contrast. Sin enfeebles. 
The strongest minds, held under the power of sin, are slow to under, 
stand. They have no strength of will ; or, if they have that, they have 
no power to execute. See the mightiest intellects captivated by pas- 
sion ; the conquerors of the world held in chains ; the most profound 
philosophers, the loftiest genius, dragged along by the petty feelings of 
envy and pride, or the grosser vices. Purity is strength, — the strength 
of angels, the strength of glorified human spirits. We are strong in 
proportion to its increase ; because as we are made partakers of the 
Divine nature, we are united more vitally to God. 

Thus Christ feeds the soul ; and for this end he was sealed. The 
question now is, whether we are thus fed. You can answer. If you 
are not thus fed, it is in vain that you go wondering after the miracles 
of Christ ; that you approve of and admire his religion ; that you speak 
of and glory in its evidences ; that you feel the force of its doctrines 
intellectually ; glory in the profession of Christianity ; and say, " I am 
of Christ." To feed you with "the bread which endureth to everlast- 
ing life" is the great end of redemption. But for this, not a miracle 
would have been wrought ; and if this end be not answered, Christ has 
even died in vain. 

In endeavouring, therefore, to press it upon you to connect this 
practical end with the sealing of Christ ; to lead you to " labour for 
the meat which endureth to everlasting life ;" suffer me in conclusion, 
to remind you, 

1. That if Christ is not this life and bread to your souls, how dis- 
proportionate are the means employed to save you, and the end which 
has in reality been accomplished. 

You are a nominal Christian, it is true ; but was it for this only that 
prophets sung the advent of Christ ; that angels announced his birth ; 
that the Father sealed his mission with stupendous miracles ; that he 
tasted so bitter a death ; rose to so glorious a life ; fulfils the ministry 
of Mediator between God and man ; promises the gift of the Holy 
Spirit ; and has constituted the Church ? Here is vast preparation 
for something. Has all this been done, think you, to give you a few 
opinions more correct ? to establish a few forms of worship more sim- 
ple ? while your sins remain unforgiven, your affections unsanctified '.' 
that you should have a name to live, and yet be dead ? You know it 
cannot be. You know that the end was your personal and full salva- 
tion ; and that your Christian profession, while you remain in the 
world, and under the power of sin, is a standing mockery of the majesty 
of the very religion of which you bear the name. My brethren, there 
is a salvation proportionate to the means taken to effect it. The par- 
don bought with sacred sacrificial blood is yours, if you seek it ; the 
renewal of your nature ; a full application of his cleansing blood ; a 
satisfaction, a spiritual growth, a life of the spirit, corresponding with 
the heavenly character of that living bread, of which whosoever eats 
shall live for ever. Let me also remind you, 

2. Of the aggravated guilt which is incurred by the very signs set 
before us, unless they accomplish their saving end. 

We all acknowledge the depth, the height, the glory, the grace of 
our Divine religion. It bears upon it the impress of God, the seal 
of the Father. It is matter of endless wonder ; it excites all that is 

Vol. II. 4 



50 CHRIST SEALED BY THE FATHER. {SERM° 

powerful, and moves all that is tender, in the soul. Here know ge 
mav ever increase its stores; genius light its fires; V°£ tT J nn , "J* 
inspiration ; intellect send down its deepest lines, and find the aeptn 
still unfathomable. But if wonder only be gratified, if genius only be 
excited, if sentiment only be stirred, if knowledge only be ted, wo be 
to me that I ever beheld that which Heaven has confirmed by its sig- 
natures, and revealed in its mercy ! All this only heightens my guilt. 
I have converted into speculation that which should practically save 
me. I have merely admired that which should have sounded in my 
ears the alarm of coming judgments. I have talked, and not prayed ; 
I have described to others what I have not applied to myself. I have 
idly gazed on the majesty of the Gospel, forgetful that it is " the secret 
place of thunder ;" and that the bolt which now lies passive in the hands 
of a long-suffering God must at length be hurled by inexorable justice. 
For, " how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ?" 

3. I remind you that for whatever you labour beside the bread of 
heaven, it is "meat that perisheth." 

How melancholy is the sight of men neglecting the enduring reali- 
ties of piety, and putting forth strenuous efforts only for that which 
must soon fail them ! " Lo, their good is not in their hand." They 
have no power over it. It is intangible as the air ; changeable as the 
hues of a cloud ; and hastens from them like time, which none can stay. 
The " pleasures of sin " are but " for a season." Every particular 
pleasure dies, and leaves remorse behind it ; and beyond the short 
season of life even those poor pleasures shall not extend. The earthly 
good which swallows up your cares, either perishes in your hand, or 
you perish yourselves in the midst of it. Wit sparkles, and expires; 
knowledge vanishes away ; estimation among men is just as enduring 
as the breath which pronounces your eulogies. In the midst of all, the 
spirit pines for a food which yet it distastes ; sighs for liberty, and yet 
clings to its chain ; finds no relief but in spiritual slumber, when the 
loud knock of eternity is heard at the gate of death, and the unprepared 
spirit is hurried into the presence of Him who would have saved, but 
must now condemn ! O when will you follow Christ for " the meat 
which endureth to everlasting life !" for principles, affections, and bless- 
ings which will live in you and with you when you shall live for ever! 
principles, affections, and blessings which never perish ! 

4. I remind you that you must "labour" for this. 

You must not rest in an empty wondering after the miracles of Christ, 
and the glories of your religion. You must labour to acquire right 
views of personal religion by reading the Scriptures, and attending the 
ministry of the word ; to impress the great principles of Christianity 
upon your hearts by devout meditation ; to obtain all the blessings of 
salvation by earnest, constant, and believing prayer ; to resist every 
temptation to evil by a holy courage ; and, in this world of iniquity, 
to preserve the soul for God by holy self dedication. 
2 



SERMON LX.] SECRET AND REVEALED THINGS. 51 



Sermon LX. — Secret and Revealed Things. 



" The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but the things revealed be- 
long unto us and to our children," Deuteronomy xxix, 29. 

One of the religious privileges that distinguished the seed of Abra- 
ham was, that to them were committed the oracles of God. Before 
the giving of the law, the revelations that God was pleased to make to 
man were transmitted from age to age by tradition ; a mode not fa- 
vourable to the preservation of the truth of God. *But when the law 
was given, it was inscribed by the finger of God upon tables of stone. 
Afterward, with the additional laws communicated through Moses, it 
was written in a book. The book was laid up in the ark of God ; 
and copies were multiplied among the people. Then they could say, 
" To the law and to the testimony ; if any pretend to come from God, 
and speak not according to these records, it is because there is no 
light in them." 

We have this distinguished advantage. Moses and the prophets 
are in our hands ; and, in addition to these writings, we have the say- 
ings of Christ, and the writings of the apostles. The whole of the 
revelations of God are completed, and written in a book for our in- 
struction ; and, since the invention of printing, copies almost innu- 
merable have been circulated. It must, from this circumstance, be 
preserved from all interpolation to the end of time. With a revela- 
tion so comprehensive, one might have supposed men would not only 
have been contented, but thankful ; that they would have received it 
with adoring gratitude, and apply themselves to understand its mean- 
ing ; would avail themselves of the promises, and practise the precepts ; 
but still, with respect to many at least, the observation holds good, 
"They are wise above what is written." They are wise, not for pur- 
poses of piety, but curiosity. We see many persons who, not content 
with the daily developement of the history of their lives, would use 
unlawful means to penetrate into the future. We see others who 
would pry into things too high for them ; into those things which, in 
the language of the text, are said to " belong to God ;" and thus they 
are "vainly puffed up in their fleshly minds." This disposition is 
justly and strikingly reproved in the words of the text. 

Israel had entered into covenant with God. Many promises were 
made to them on condition of their obedience ; and many severe threat- 
enings were denounced against them in case of disobedience. Their 
nation was to be destroyed ; their country taken from them ; themselves 
carried into captivity. They were to be a proverb and a reproach to 
all people. Now the intention of such declarations was, doubtless, to 
impress upon them the necessity of paying due attention to the com- 
mands of God their Creator. As if Moses had seen a variety of curious 
questions arising in their minds, whether such threatenings would ever 
take place ; the age when these events would occur ; and the instru- 
ments that should afflict them ; he turns their attention from speculation 
to practice, in the language of the text. " For secret things," says he, 
" belong unto the Lord our God ; but things that are revealed," — things 

2 



52 SECRET AND KEVEALED THINGS. [SERMON LX 

obvious to your knowledge, things easily acquired, — " belong to you 
and to your children." 

This is the connection of the text. The passage contains two im- 
portant propositions. 

I. That secret things belong to the Lord our God ; and > 

II. That the things revealed belong to us and to our children. 
We call your attention, 

I. To the secret things that belong to God. 

At first sight it would appear that little is hidden from man ; that 
there are few secrets which God has not entrusted him with. But the 
preposition doubtless implies that there are many important objects of 
knowledge known only to God. I am not disposed, however, to limit 
the field of human knowledge. After all the reserves God has made, 
matter and mind, religious doctrines and morals, the human intellect, 
our own nature, time and eternity, and the nature of God himself, all come 
under our view. Though our knowledge is not infinite, yet it takes hold 
of many boundless subjects. Recollect that man does not stand at the 
head of the intellectual creation. We are comparatively but an inferior 
part of the works of God. There are powers more eminent in nature, 
beings much higher in intellectual capacity, and in every natural glory, 
than we are. There are the angels who kept their first estate ; the 
whole hierarchy of heaven, from the lowest angel to the seraphim 
nearest the throne of God. As a man knows things not only more 
clearly than a child, but also many things of which a child is utterly 
ignorant ; so it may be supposed that those exalted powers, so much 
above us in the scale of beings, not only know many things more 
clearly than we do, — for they see, to use the language of the apostle, 
" face to face," — but many things more than we know, or can know, 
in the present state. But between the highest intelligence and God, 
still there is an infinite distance ; and, of course, what God knows is 
more extensive than any creature can possibly know. 

Probably there are many material existences of which we know no- 
thing, and, indeed, can know nothing. There are, perhaps, many pro- 
perfies of mind, of which we can form no notions in our present state. 
Probably there are many kinds of moral governments displayed in the 
universe, under the control of God, of which we have no conception. 
Yet it is certain that from objects of this kind no temptation to pry 
into them too curiously can arise. All that we can affirm is, pro- 
bably, other objects beside those with which we are acquainted do 
exist ; but we know too little of them to excite any curiosity. There 
is no unholy prying. With respect to them all is distant and all is 
dark. 

Another class of objects from which we are more in danger of in- 
dulging the curiosity reproved in the text, are those which are partly 
hidden and partly revealed : partly found exposed in the revelations of 
this book, shining with different degrees of light ; but all in their reasons 
and detail considerably obscure. Part is prominent on the sacred 
page ; and part is hidden under a veil which Divine wisdom has not 
seen proper to remove. With respect to objects of this kind we are 
in more danger of penetrating into God's secrets. We ask, " Where 
is the harm in indulging in these speculations ? Is it not a part of our 
duty, a part of the glory of our nature, to cultivate religious knowledge?" 



SEEMON LX.] SECEET AND KEVEALED THINGS. 53 

I answer, This is true to a certain extent ; but how many persons for- 
get what it is. important to remember, that one great part of our moral 
discipline on earth is to submit, in matters of faith, to God ! We are 
called to walk by faith, not by sight ; that the virtue of man may be 
put to the test, — whether he will believe, on the authority of God, the 
things which our reasoning powers cannot comprehend, and which the 
mental eye cannot penetrate. If a man will not submit to the autho- 
rity of God, he as much offends God as if he committed the greatest 
crime. We should believe the truth, not because it is a doctrine de- 
monstrable, but because God has said it. This is the condition on 
which all is placed. Though the fruit of the tree of knowledge may 
appear in many cases desirable to the eye to make one wise ; though 
it appear good for food ; yet at our peril we pluck it. God has fenced 
in the holy mountain, and no man with impunity can break through 
the hedge. We know a perverted use has been made of this doctrine. 
It has been said, we were prohibited from examining, lest the weakness 
of our faith should be discovered ; lest it should appear to any person that 
the interdictions are peculiar to religion ; that they are instituted upon 
policy ; from a desire to hide something which, if curiously examined, 
would have weakened its authority and power, and have rendered the 
whole scheme abortive. But let us recollect that this is not the only 
prohibition. God demands nothing of us with respect to religion that 
he does not demand of us with respect to other things. It is not in re- 
ligion only that God has his secrets ; but also in nature and providence. 

Nature has her secrets. It is true, we have heard much, from those 
persons who have opposed the revelation of God, concerning nature. 
This world, this goodly universe, has been called the Bible of nature. 
There is a good and a bad sense of that expression. It has been com- 
pared, and invidiously compared, with the Bible of revelation. — Many 
fine things have been said about this Bible of nature ; as, for instance, 
that it is free from interpolation. We are told the characters are so 
legible, that they cannot be corrupted ; that it is known in every land, 
and speaks a universal language ; and that he who runs may read it. 
Its supposed plainness is put in contrast with the mysteries of various 
doctrines of God's book. We are also told that there is no difficulty 
in its study. Is this true? On the contrary, it will appear from 
numerous comments written on this Bible of nature, that it has its 
difficult paragraphs, and texts hard to be understood ; and also its ap- 
parent contradictions, which no comment has been able to explain or 
reconcile. 

Philosophy, also, has her secrets. I do not attempt either to decry 
or depreciate the labours of philosophy. True philosophy is the hand- 
maid of religion. It follows in her train, and is ever busy in collect- 
ing facts to illustrate the wisdom, the goodness, and every other glory 
of the Creator. It is calculated to give numerous proofs of the good- 
ness of God as revealed in nature. A true philosopher will say, in the 
language of one of its brightest ornaments, " We are ready to confess 
that nature has her secrets. All we know is, that we know nothing." 
Little is done in the way of philosophizing but what relates to method. 
Even all the investigations of the wise, on this subject, go but a few 
steps beyond the vulgar. Then all is hesitation ; and they either stop, 
or pass on in doubt and darkness. 

2 



54 SECRET AND REVEALED THINGS. [SEEJION LX. 

Astronomy has its secrets. Astronomers can tell the number of the 
stars, and ascertain the laws by which their motions are regulated ; 
but they cannot tell how these laws are carried into execution. 1 hey 
cannot tell what is the substance of which these distant bodies are com- 
posed. They cannot solve that apparently easy, but, in fact, difficult 
question, whether those stars are inhabited or not ? They cannot in- 
form us what is the extent of the universe. All these are secrets. 

Anatomists, by their curious inquiries, can name the parts, explain 
the economy, and point out the uses of the animal frame, that wonder- 
ful structure ; but they cannot explain the laws of muscular motion, or 
the connection between the will and that motion,— why, when I will, 
I move my hand or my foot. They cannot tell how we grow. They 
cannot say how we live, or how we die. All these are secrets. 

The chemist, though he tortures nature with his fires, to extort the 
secret, finds but a very partial confession. 

Those who study the philosophy of the human mind, in all the pride 
of their terms, cannot tell how a single perception is produced ; how 
it is that we remember past, or perceive present, objects, — those which 
surround us, as well as those which are at a distance. None of the 
operations of the human mind can be explained, though they are sub- 
jects of daily consciousness, and though the operations are in our own 
breasts. There, where we are more particularly at home, we may be 
said to be strangers. The vulgar see effects, for which the philosopher 
assigns causes ; but these may be only the effect of other causes ; these 
the effects of previous causes ; and so on. Nor can any person tell 
how far the influence of causes and effects extends. Nature presents 
daily difficulties. 

Providence presents secrets as well as nature. It would be strange, 
indeed, if it did not. By providence I mean that branch of it that 
relates to God's government of man as a moral agent. How great a 
mystery the economy of God is with respect to man, may appear from 
this circumstance, that no man can judge of Divine Providence with 
respect to himself. If it is the case that providence has its mysteries, 
we are called in providence, as well as religion, to bound our inquiries, 
and submit to God's authority. 

The history of every man's individual life presents many mysteries 
which he cannot explain. " No man," said that sagacious observer of 
human nature, Solomon, " no man knows what is good or evil for him 
by all that is before him." How is this proved in constant experience! 
None of us can say, with respect to any particular incident of our lives, 
that this is a blessing, or that is a curse, till we have seen its conclu- 
sion. You meet with an affliction. You deem it an evil ; and it pro- 
duces good. You meet with a gratification. You call it a blessing ; 
and it brings with it a train of evil consequences. There is no person, 
whose understanding has been improved by experience and observation, 
that dare challenge Divine Providence with respect to the blessings or 
evils of his life. No man who has paid attention to himself, and to the 
manner in which God has governed his life, dare say either that his 
present enjoyments are good, or his present afflictions evil. If, then, 
we are so baffled with the history of ourselves, how imperfect our 
judgments must be as to what is fit and proper for God to do ' Shall 
we presume to scan and pronounce on the plan of God's general "0- 

4t 



SERMON LX.] SECRET AND REVEALED THINGS. 55 

vernment, which comprehends all nations and all variety of circum- 
stances ? which is connected, not only with time, but with eternity ? 
Surely every person will acknowledge, with the psalmist, and say, with 
respect to these things, " This knowledge is too wonderful for me ; it is 
high, I cannot attain unto it." 

Though that is a secret to us, it belongs to God. High upon his 
throne he looks upon, the works of his hands, and penetrates the future 
of time. He knows the tendency, and can calculate the ultimate re- 
sult of all his plans. " Known unto him are all his works from the 
beginning." Notwithstanding the equity of his proceedings, in many 
respects they are mysterious. Though we must acknowledge that jus- 
tice and judgment form the pillars that support his throne ; yet let us 
never forget that clouds and darkness are round about him. He has 
drawn a veil before the face of his throne ; and behind that he trans- 
acts the affairs of the universe, beyond the scrutiny of the human eye. 
Curiosity may ask, " Lord, what is this V Men do ask ; but they 
receive no other reply than, " What is that to thee? follow thou me ;" 
for "he giveth no account of his matters." His government of the 
world has its secrets ; but who will on this account deny God's provi- 
dence, and say that he does not govern the world ? We know not why 
it was that evil was permitted to enter into the world ; why man kept 
his first state for so short a period ; why true religion was so soon 
corrupted ; why, when the redeeming scheme was announced, it was 
so partially received ; why the perfect system of religion itself, as given 
fey Christ, was corrupted, and to this day has made so little progress 
in the earth ; why it appeared for so many ages to have lost its effi- 
cacy ; why God's peculiar people themselves became corrupt. These 
and a thousand other questions, with respect to God's general provi- 
dence, are all secrets. 

With respect to individual cases, we know not why this man is af- 
flicted, and another exempt from affliction. We know not why the 
good are so often afflicted, — " plagued every morning, and tried every 
moment," — while vice is crowned with prosperity ; why the wicked 
are continued long on the earth, while useful lives are often quickly 
cut off. The light which seems designed to enlighten the world is 
quenched in darkness. We know not why riches are often given to 
the churl, while persons of a liberal and bountiful spirit have their hands 
chained up with poverty. God gives no account of these matters. 

Religion must have its secrets. It cannot be supposed that a reli- 
gion which is so intimately connected with the character of the infinite 
God, whose perfections even angel minds cannot comprehend, on the 
abyss of which they must ever stand and cry, " O the depth, both of 
the wisdom and knowledge of God ! how unsearchable are his judg. 
ments, and his ways past finding out !" should be without mysteries. 
Let us be assured of this, if religion was without secrets, it could not 
be from God. If it was a religion to be measured by our finite minds, 
it could not be a transcript of the counsels of God ; it could not take 
hold of infinite heights, and depths, and lengths, and breadths. That 
a religion so intimately connected with human spirits, of the nature 
of which we know so little, and an eternal state of which we know 
comparatively nothing,— that such a religion has its secrets, is nothing 
more than what might be expected. In fact, it is a proof of its divi. 

2 



56 SECKET AND REVEALED THINGS. [SEHMON LX. 

nity. If we cannot extort the secrets from nature, with which we are 
surrounded, which we handle, hear, taste, and see ; if we cannot trace 
the Divine proceedings with respect to man in matters which relate 
to civil affairs ; how is it that any man can dream that there should 
not be secrets and mysteries in religion, which is concerned with the 
ever-blessed God, which is concerned with virtue and vice, and con- 
nected with that eternal world which is scarcely revealed to us, and 
the character of which we cannot know ? " Am I a God V said the 
king of Israel, when the king of Syria sent Naaman to him to be healed 
of his leprosy. If we cannot attempt to rival acts of Divine power, 
without presuming to be gods,.we surely cannot presume to scan infi- 
nite wisdom. Hence what God is, and how he is ; his eternity, his 
omniscience, and omnipresence ; how a trinity of persons exist in one 
nature ; how God was made flesh, and dwelt among us ; how God was 
united to man ; how the foreknowledge of God can consist with the 
freedom of human actions ; how the freedom of human actions consists 
with the certainty of the Divine plans ; how the dead shall be raised, 
and with what body they shall come ; in what manner spirits exist in 
a separate state, and what will be our exact condition in another state 
of things ; what will be the events that shall fill the rounds of eternity 
with pleasure or pain : these are revealed as facts, and are doctrines 
which we must admit. They stand on the sacred page like stars in 
the firmament, some of greater and some of smaller magnitude ; but 
they are the great secrets of God. For when any one would proceed 
to explain them in detail, they fade away from the page, and leave us 
to say, in the language of the text, "They belong to God." 
They belong to him, 

1. Because he knows them. 

They are his secrets. Of these secrets he is completely the master. 
It matters not whether we discern the whole truth clearly or not ; it 
is enough that we discover what concerns our salvation, and that the 
rest, however cloudy to us, burns with brightness in the bosom of God. 
Proofs are not at all wanting for the foundation of our faith, though 
we cannot comprehend them. They are absolute facts, if revealed in 
this book, whether they are taken in by the mental eye, or not ; as it 
is true that there is a goodly world about us, although a blind man can- 
not discern any objects but what he handles. They are absolute facts, 
and perfectly consistent with the highest reason. 

2. They are his, because they are the reserves he has made in com- 
municating knowledge to man. 

To give knowledge is a sovereign act, which God may suspend 
without injustice. No man has a right to demand of God the degree 
of knowledge he shall impart. No person could have had any reason 
to complain, if God had made him a worm of the earth, an insect, in- 
stead of giving him a spirit, and by his inspiration giving him under- 
standing. We have no more reason to complain that we do riot know 
more, than the mole has reason to complain because he does not see more, 
because he does not behold the world about him. We have no more reason 
to complain because God has not given the knowledge of some secrets, 
than the heathen, because God has not given the Gospel to them. I 
say again, to give knowledge is a sovereign act. God has a right to 
determine in what manner, and where, and to what extent, he will com- 
2 



SERMON LX.] SECRET AND REVEALED THINGS. 57 

municate knowledge. All we have to do is to say, (thankful for what 
we have and are,) " Even so, Father ; for so it hath seemed good in 
thy sight." 

3. They belong to him in another sense ; they are his property. 
As they are his secrets, it is an act of great boldness for any man to 
pry into them. Every man has a property in his own secrets ; and it 
is an act of injustice, a morally wrong act, in another, to endeavour to 
make himself master of my secrets. There is something of this kind 
with respect to the ever-blessed God. They belong to him ; and man 
is not allowed to invade his province. Though God allows curiosity, 
yet he has always punished that prying curiosity which, unmindful of 
the interdictions of God, has attempted to rob him of his secrets. The 
man who would attempt to pry into the Divine secrets cannot do it 
with impunity. The men who looked into the ark were smitten with 
emerods ; and the usual punishment of all those persons who would pry 
into these things is, " when they look for light behold darkness !" Seek- 
ing for more certainty than God has allowed them to have, their re- 
ligious opinions become unsettled ; and they sink first into doubt, and 
afterward into absolute darkness. 

They are his to reveal ; and at the proper time that revelation comes. 
They are taken into the scheme of mercy with respect to his people. 
They are not absolutely withheld, but only temporally. On every 
sealed volume God has written, " What thou knowest not now, thou 
shalt know hereafter." Is it too much to wait a little time, in order 
to prepare us for the full revelation of God, when we shall see face to 
face ? Though the volumes are sealed now, they will be unsealed and 
unrolled in eternity. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed to 
open the seals of the volume. Page after page, and comment after 
comment, will be presented to the reverent gaze of the spirit, which, 
in the light of the Lord, shall be able inwardly to digest all the truths 
that God shall reveal ; and while each solution shall add to their know- 
ledge, they will increase in happiness for ever 
We call your attention, 

II. To the " things revealed," which are said to " belong to us." 
It appears, then, that there is a revelation of religious truths ; that 
God has granted to man a revelation. It will not be necessary, in such 
a congregation as this, (composed, I should suppose, for the most part, 
of believers in Divine revelation,) that I should enter into proofs that 
this book is indeed a revelation from God. I need only observe, that 
such a revelation as this was necessary ; so necessary, that, without it, 
man could know nothing of God or of himself. There was no other 
means of obtaining these truths, which are now in the hands of men, 
than that of receiving them as a revelation from God. We have heard 
much of the power of human reason, and its capacity to discover truth ; 
but there is no proof that man, without a revelation from God, would 
ever have known God at all. There is no proof of this, because we 
cannot find a man, either savage or civilized, in any part of the world, 
who actually acquired this knowledge by the mere exercise of his own 
understanding. Reason has uniformly corrupted and spoiled the truth 
which God has given ; and there needed successive dispensations of 
truth and grace from God to preserve it in its purity. That which 
proved so insufficient to preserve it when it was given, scarcely could 

2 



58 SECRET AND REVEALED THINGS. [SERMON LX. 

have been able to discover it, if it had not been given. God never did 
leave any creature that he has made, by doubtful inference, to find out 
his nature and his will ; for then there could be no foundation for piety. 
For the foundation does not stand on opinion, (and all inference is mere 
opinion,) but upon the revealed will of God. Do not let us mistake, 
brethren. We cannot sufficiently value the gift we have received in 
this book ; for without it we find there is no proof at all given that man 
could have discovered God, an immortal spirit in man, or a future state. 
No man is left to do this. In every age there has been a tradition of 
God, of the soul, and of a future state. If man had been able to dis- 
cover the truths necessary to salvation, God, who does nothing in vain, 
would not have inspired holy men of old, much less have humbled his, 
Son by sending him in the form of a man. We owe all we know to 
God, of ourselves, and of eternal life, to a direct revelation from God. 
All religious truths are treasured up in the pages of this book, which 
has been wonderfully preserved, and transmitted from age to age, while 
the works of man have perished. 

What are the things revealed ? A brief view of them will be ne- 
cessary. 

1. Here, then, we have a revelation of God. 

Not all the secrets of the Divine nature ; but as much of God as it 
is necessary to know in the present state, for all holy, and happy, and 
practical consequences. Here mark the peculiar manner in which 
this book speaks of God. He is not demonstrated in his being and 
perfections by long and elaborate arguments. There is nothing diffi- 
cult in the process ; but God is revealed, as we might expect him to be 
revealed, by a revelation from himself : not by painful discovery ; not 
hesitatingly, or doubtfully ; but authoritatively. We are not left to 
pry through the dark texture of the veil, to catch an indistinct view of 
the object behind it ; but revelation undraws the veil with a mighty 
hand, and discovers all we know of God. We see him 

"Full orb'd in his whole round of rays complete." 

2. It is a revelation of man, too. 

It may sound strange at first that man should need a revelation to 
know himself; and yet there is no truth more demonstrable than this, 
that without a revelation from God there is nothing more mysterious 
than man himself. Man without this book is to himself the greatest 
of riddles, and the deepest of enigmas. In contemplating his destiny, 
without light from heaven, he involves himself in inexplicable laby- 
rinths. If you want proof of this, you find it in the men who have left 
the light of revelation, and have speculated on what they thought they 
knew most of, — man himself. What is the result of their speculations ? 
It would be a subject to smile at, if it was not too solemn in its conse- 
quences, to see how the men who have left the light of God, and specu- 
lated on man, have arrived at directly opposite conclusions. One de- 
prives him of a material nature ; another denies him a spirit, and says 
he is all matter. One raises him to a god ; another debases him to a 
brute. One gives him a high and sovereign reason, capable of con- 
trolling himself without foreign assistance ; while another makes him 
the necessary slave of habits and passions. One allows him a probable 
existence beyond the tomb ; while another would invest his last man- 
2 



SERMON LX.] SECRET AND REVEALED THINGS. 59 

sion with absolute darkness, and write for his epitaph, " Death is an 
eternal sleep ;" while another scarcely allows him a present existence. 
All these, and various other speculations, might be mentioned, as con- 
tained in the works of modern infidels. 

We all ought to revere the revelation of God, which has taught us 
what we ourselves are. It should render this book more dear to us. 
Here we learn that man was made in the image of God ; and that he 
is a fallen creature. This explains his sorrows and his miseries. — 
How decidedly is the matter of the compound nature of man settled 
by the account Moses has given of his original ! The Lord made him 
of the dust of the earth ; he was lifeless, till God breathed into him ; 
then he became a living soul. We are fallen creatures. We have sin- 
ned against God. Having forsaken the fountain of living waters, we 
vainly attempt to hew out broken cisterns. We are guilty ; under the 
curse of the law ; living a miserable life upon earth ; and, if not actu- 
ally saved, shall perish for ever. We have a deathless soul, and a 
body which, though it die, shall rise again from the dead, and be as 
deathless as the spirit. 

God has devised means in order to purge the conscience from the 
guilt of sin, and fit it to enter the paradise of bliss. 
3. It is a revelation of Christ. 

Here the peculiar character of the Gospel scheme comes forth, in 
all its glory. There never was a revelation made by God to the world, 
that was not a revelation of Christ. In fact, both the Old and New 
Testaments are a revelation of Christ, in different modes. All God's 
former dispensations represented him, though they represented him 
darkly ; but they became brighter and brighter, as time rolled on. — 
Because we are guilty creatures ; because man has sinned ; and be- 
cause, for reasons laid down in the infinite mind, God could not pardon 
sin without a suitable satisfaction; "the Word was made flesh." The 
Son of God became a man, that he might learn in the school of adver- 
sity how to sympathize with and to succour the tempted. He had a 
nature capable of suffering, and did suffer. In that nature he poured 
out his soul to death, and thus made reconciliation for the transgressors. 
He ascended into heaven, to testify his power over death. He is 
seated in heaven, where he ever liveth to make intercession for us. 
He has established the ministry of his word. He has poured out his 
Holy Spirit on man, that man might be enlightened and saved. 

It is a revelation of the means by which we are interested in this 
great undertaking. It shows us how the benefits of the death of Christ 
may descend and rest upon us personally. Here is one peculiar glory 
of the revelation of Christ. It gives a plain and satisfactory answer 
to that important question, which nothing else can answer, " What 
must I do to be saved?" There is no other answer to this question, 
but that which is contained in the book of God. 

The Jew may take this question to his law, and say, under the guilt 
of his conscience, " What must I do to be saved ?" but the oracle of Zion 
is dumb. The Urim and Thummim make no reply. The law has long 
been separated from Christ, its end, and therefore is silent. 

The pagan may take this question to his idol, and say, under the 
pressure of his conscience, and its gloom, " What must I do to be 
saved V Yet, though he offer the fruit of his body for the sin of his 



60 SECRET AND REVEALED THINGS. [SERMON LX. 

soul ; though he cry aloud to Baal from morning until evening, and 
inflict upon his body a variety of wounds and pains ; yet there is no 
voice, nor any to answer. 

The infidel may, under the pressure of his conscience, take this 
question (if ever he feels conscience to trouble him) to his Bible of 
nature, and say to that, " What must I do to be saved ?" Nature, as 
he pretends, speaks aloud through all her works of the goodness of 
God ; and he may suppose this an answer to the question. We grant 
that nature speaks encouragingly of the goodness of God ; but does 
the Bible of nature speak of nothing else but his goodness ? Does it 
not speak of the power and terrible majesty of God, as well as of his 
goodness ? Are there no threatenings on its pages ? Or is it all a 
book of promise ? Has it not storms, as well as sunshine ? And has 
it not desolating tempests, and sweeping pestilences, and famine, 
which declare the terrible majesty of God, against whom we have sin- 
ned ? Surely, these might serve to impress him, that the God whom 
he pretends to worship is something more than a God of mere good- 
ness. Nature, then, gives no satisfactory answer. 

Take the question to every sun that shines, and every star that glows 
in every part of the universal temple of nature, and yet no voice will 
be returned to this question, " What must I do to be saved ?" 

Where, then, is the answer to be found? We find it, brethren, re- 
corded in this book ; in that expanded scroll which Jesus Christ has 
held before the face of all ages. We find it in his hands, nailed to 
the tree. Then the finger of mercy inscribed, " Look unto me, all ye 
ends of the earth, and be ye saved ; for I am God, and there is none 
else." It was written in characters of blood, in that hour when Jesus 
Christ died, and said, "It is finished." 

4. It is a revelation of a future state, and of the means to secure 
final happiness. 

Of what importance is the Gospel in this respect ! It has brought 
life and immortality to light. It has dissipated the gloom ; it has burst 
the involving cloud ; and all is day. It marks our track through life, 
that track which is resplendent with the footsteps of the Messiah, who 
once trod it ; trod it in the path of duty, and left that path for the 
direction of all the saints ; the path of holy faith and humble obedi- 
ence. Through the valley of the shadow of death we are enlightened 
by the glory which breaks from the skies, showing to every believer 
the paradise of God. 

Is it not encouraging to sinners ? It presents to them the fiery throne 
of judgment, with a dreadful intermediate state, and more dreadful after 
the sentence is pronounced, " where there is weeping, and gnashing of 
teeth." O man, God has showed thee what shall be hereafter; the 
punishment of sin, and his anger against it, that thou mightest be 
warned in time, and flee to the refuge set before thee. 

Tell us how you who are interested in Christ value this revelation. 
You expect eternal life from his lips. You anticipate beforehand the 
joy of heaven, which consists in being ever with the Lord, and sharing 
the glory of Christ for ever. 

These things belong to us. 

They belong to us, because we have a deep interest in them. 

We say of the Gospel, as Moses said of the law, « It is no vain 
2 



SEEMON LX.] SECRET AND REVEALED THINGS. 61 

thing ;" no light and empty thing ; our eternal interest is bound up in 
it. We might have had a book of philosophy, instead of these pages ; 
or a book to answer all the questions on the disputed points in theo- 
logy, which have so long agitated the world. What would have been 
the advantage 1 Mere knowledge puffeth up. There is not a truth God 
has revealed, but takes deep hold of our present salvation and future state. 

They belong to us ; for they are given us that we may study them. 

Can it be ? Do not angels weep at this, that man upon earth can 
have this book of revelation ; and because there is some curious ques- 
tion he cannot solve, he pays no attention to the important subjects it 
brings before him ? that many who possess this invaluable treasure 
feel no taste for its contents ? Our language should be, " O how I love 
thy law ! I meditate in it day and night." By knowing, applying, and 
embracing these truths, we shall secure the happiness at God's right 
hand ; or by neglecting them, for the pleasures of this life, we shall 
be left without the consolations of religion, and the hopes of a better 
world. As we have a deep interest in them, they are ours. 

But they are ours to examine, seriously to examine, that we may 
know what may be known fully ; and apply ourselves to do all the 
words of this law. 

It is to be feared that many persons, the most curious, as well as the 
incurious, examine the word of God with little attention. What a sad 
reflection it is that there are so many of our fellow creatures who so 
employ themselves in the various concerns of the present life, as to 
find little leisure to study, examine, and meditate upon the truth which 
God has given ! How many we find who, with respect to religion, 
have no more knowledge of it than they learned in their Catechism ! 

Things practical God has revealed, not to gratify curiosity, but that . 
you may be afraid, and sanctify the Lord God in your hearts ; and let 
him be your fear and your dread. 

The wretchedness of man is revealed, that man may humble himself 
in dust and ashes, confess his sin, and find mercy. 

Christ is revealed, that by every view of his character it may 
strengthen our personal trust in his merit and saving power. 

The method of salvation is revealed, that we may apply to the remedy, 
and not die and be damned, with salvation within our reach. 

Eternity is revealed, that we may be encouraged by its glory, and 
awed by its terrors ; that we may give up ourselves to God, and lay up 
for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come. 

Let me say, that the blessed revelation God has given us of these 
important truths never concurs to practical purposes, till, like David, 
we are so attached to the pages of this book, as to meditate in it day 
and night ; until we dedicate to it such a portion of our time, as may 
serve to enlarge our knowledge of the truths it contains. 

It is ours to apply. 

The great object of God's revelation is practice. It is an experi- 
mental and practical revelation. "The things revealed belong to us 
and to our children, that we may do all the words of this law." 

Why has God revealed himself, but that you may be humbled before 
him ; that you may feel your guilt, wretchedness, and ingratitude ; that 
you may reverence his majesty, and be encouraged by his mercy in 
the way Christ has revealed ? 

2 



62 SECRET AND REVEALED THINGS. [SERMON LX> 

Why is Christ revealed, but that you may come to him with your 
guilt and weakness, and find through him access to the Father ? In 
him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead ; and he is designed to 
supply all the wants of a fallen and guilty human spirit. 

Why is man revealed, but that he may be led to God's truth, and 
read his own character, and come to a proper knowledge of his weak* 
ness and dependence upon God ? 

Why is eternity revealed, but for the purpose of keeping that stupen- 
dous object ever before us, that it may lead us to live in reference to a 
future state ? Every action we do has a direct bearing upon our hap- 
piness or misery in another state. 

It is in this manner that we should apply the truth of God ; then the 
things revealed will, in a high and important sense, become ours. 

They belong to children. For children God has deposited them 
with us ; with every person who is a parent especially ; and reminded 
him that the truth is put into his hands, not that he may monopolize it 
to himself, but transmit it to others, especially to his offspring. " Thou 
shalt teach them diligently to thy children." 

In the first ages of the world, every head of a family was a minister 
of religion, and performed all the ordinances of Divine worship. And 
when the order of ministers was established, the whole of the religious 
duties of a parent did not cease. It is not possible that God could 
intend that religious truths should be left entirely to the pulpit. It 
was ever in the design of God that parents should form in the minds 
of their children the great elements of religion. They are to train 
them up, that so they may be led into all truth, and be a generation to 
serve him. 

In the present age of refinement and wisdom, it has been discovered 
that the Bible is an unfit book for schools. Why is it an unfit book ? 
Because, say the objectors, they cannot understand it. I would say to 
such persons, Can you understand it 1 Are there not in it secrets and 
mysteries which none can understand ? That which they understand 
gradually prepares their minds for the revelation of what is secret. 
That parent is under an awful responsibility to God who neglects this 
duty. Piety may not follow of course ; but it is the most probable 
result of a religious training. 

What shall I say in conclusion ? 

1. Such a revelation demands our gratitude. 

It is a matter for thankfulness that so much is revealed, and that so 
intimately connected with our happiness. We ought never to look 
upon the Bible but with sentiments of sincere gratitude. Though 
certainly much is hidden, yet what is mysterious in part in this book 
is found, upon examination, not essentially connected with faith and 
hope. What is revealed is of more importance than any thing to be 
revealed. I do not undervalue any of the things God has to reveal : 
they will fill the souls of the saints with wonder, and raise into activity 
every power of the glorified nature. If it had been good for us to 
have known them here, we should have known them all. The great 
attainments of the Christian character may be made without such dis- 
coveries. God has withheld the less, and given the greater. Why do 
we not apply our hearts to this system, when there are so many fields 
of knowledge in which the sun shines with unobstructed beams ? Be* 
2 



SERMON LXI.] THE FRAILTY OF MAN, ETC. 63 

cause in some distant region there is darkness, shall we run into that 
darkness, and then complain for want of light 1 Let us be thankful 
that we have a perfect revelation ; that we are not in the state of the 
patriarchs and Jews, to be taught by studying pictures, the mere ele- 
ments of knowledge. God has now brought us into the school of 
Christ, where all the system, so far as it relates to the present state, 
is clearly unfolded. Let us be thankful next to the Bible, that we 
have so many helps to understand it, so many judicious comments. 
Let me add, 

2. Our responsibility is in proportion to our privilege. 

If with these advantages we are walking in the paths of sin and 
folly, how shall we answer to God, who shall finally sit in judgment 
upon us ? It will be our greatest bane, or our highest bliss, that we 
have possessed a Bible. 

If we are thus favoured with the light, we are called to " walk as 
children of the light;" to "put off the former conversation, which is 
corrupt according to the deceitful lusts." Even the holiness of former 
dispensations was far below the light of Christianity. We are called 
to follow the example, not of this patriarch, and that prophet, but to 
mark the resplendent footsteps of the Messiah. We are called to put 
on Christ, and to let the same mind be in us that was in him. 

If our minds aspire after the discovery of some important truth, pro- 
vided the curiosity be holy, the desire is not forbidden. Moses, when 
he offered this petition, " Lord, I beseech thee show me thy glory," 
was not reproved. 

Much is learned by habitual walking with God. Piety is the key to 
many mysteries which science cannot possibly unlock ; and ere long, 
as I before observed, what God has reserved shall be communicated. 
For though at present " we see as through a glass darkly," the time is 
coming when we shall see face to face. The shades of evening are 
passing away ; the day of eternity is coming, when a full and clear 
light will shine on the pages of this book ; when all the doctrines, one 
after another, will start into perfect clearness. 

God grant that we may make a right use of things revealed, and at 
last enter the realms of light, where God shall perfectly unveil himself, 
and be seen eye to eye, and face to face, by his saints ! Amen. 



Sermon LXI. — The Frailty of Man, and the Immutability of the 

Gospel. 



" For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The 
grass withcreth, and the flower thereof falleth away : but the word of the Lord 
endureth for ever," 1 Peter i, 24, 25. 

These words are a quotation from the fortieth chapter of the book 
of the Prophet Isaiah ; a reference to which will enable us more fully 
to enter into their import. The prophet proclaims comfort to Israel : 
" Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye com- 
fortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accom- 



64 T HE FKAILTY OF MAN, ETC. [SERMON LXI. 

plished, that her iniquity is pardoned : for she hath received of the 
Lord's hand double for all her sins." . 

The approach of the Messiah is then announced ; and his herald, 
John the Baptist, is introduced by the prophet, as " the voice of one 
crying in the wilderness." Then Messiah himself bursts upon the view 
in his august character, as Jehovah, the God of the Jewish Church. 
" Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, make straight in the desert a high- 
way for our God." 

The effect of his administration is next described, id abasing the 
hills, and exalting the valleys, till all flesh together should see the 
glory of God. " Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain 
and hill shall be made low : and the crooked shall be made straight, 
and the rough places plain : and the glory of the Lord shall be reveal- 
ed, and all flesh shall see it together : for the mouth of the Lord hath 
spoken it." 

Views like these might well shake faith in its strongest form. The 
pious Jew might say, " How can these things be ? Lord, I believe, I 
dare not question ; but can these things be ? Help mine unbelief." 
It was helped. " The voice said, Cry ! And he said, What shall I 
cry ? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower 
of the field : the grass withereth, the flower fadeth : because the Spirit 
of the Lord bloweth upon it : surely the people is grass." But this 
word of promise is not the word of flesh, that is, the word of man. 
This glorious plan is not of human devising, and therefore partakes 
not of human infirmity. It is " the word of our God, and shall stand 
for ever." 

On this ground St. Peter founds his firm confidence that the Gospel 
could never fail; but that it "liveth and abideth for ever." Address- 
ing the believers of his day, he says, " Seeing you have purified your 
souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the 
brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently : 
being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the 
word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as 
grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass 
withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away : but the word of the 
Lord endureth for ever." And this " word of the Lord," spoken by the 
prophet, "is the Gospel" which is "preached unto you." It declares 
God's purpose, and method of saving the world. Opposed it may be ; 
but all opposition is vain. It standeth fast for ever. 

The subjects then to which I shall call your attention are, the per- 
petuity of the Gospel, and various practical applications of this truth 
to our comfort and direction. 

I. The perpetuity of the Gospel : " The word of the Lord endureth 
for ever." 

This is to us a subject of so much importance, that I shall adduce 
several of those considerations which confirm it to us beyond all doubt 
or suspicion, that the word of the Lord, as embodied in the holy Gos- 
pel, " abideth for ever." 

1. The first principle on which this all-important conclusion rests is 
the truth of the Gospel. 

Truth is everlasting. It must be so in its own nature ; for that 
which is true remains so for ever. If, therefore, we have evidence of 
2 



SERMON LXI.J THE FRAILTY OF MAN, ETC. 65 

the truth of the Gospel, we have evidence of its everlasting character. 
It cannot change with opinions, the fallacy and falsehood of which 
some new discovery, some deeper reach of thought, detects and ex- 
poses. It is founded in the reality of things, and in the stable counsels 
of an immutable God ; and is therefore eminently " the truth," and 
leaves nothing to be discovered that can alter its character. This is 
the first ground of assurance. Errors are nothing. They are decep- 
tions as to the reality of things, and must all, therefore, pass away. 
They are the clouds of the mind, which, however various, and even 
attractive, their combinations and form, and though they should be 
gilded by chance rays of truth, turned out of their course, and reflected 
from their surface, yet change while we gaze upon them, and shall be 
swept away by the wind of heaven. But truth is the steady light of 
day. Its illuminations emanate from the central sun, ever flowing, 
unexhausted, and inexhaustible. 

2. The second principle on which the everlasting duration of the 
Gospel rests, is, that it is not only truth, but truth which is the subject 
of experimental proof. 

All truth is eternal ; but all truth does not come within the compass 
of human observation, and cannot therefore be put to the test ; nor 
can we get at the proof that it is so. It may be true that the stars 
are habitable worlds, and that there, life, vegetable, animal, and ra- 
tional, is poured forth in the riches of profuse goodness ; and that count- 
less myriads are there rejoicing in the dispensed bounties of our com- 
mon Father. But we have no proof of this. None of us have ascended 
those heavens ; and none of their inhabitants, supposing them to exist, 
have descended to us. We reason and conclude from real or supposed 
analogies. 

But the truth of the Gospel is not of this distant nature. It is not 
foreign from human condition ; and is not beyond human proof. In 
fact, it can only be attributed to its having answered in all cases the 
proof, the trial of human experience, that it has been preserved in the 
world ; and by its answering that proof it will be transmitted with 
new attestations to the latest ages. If men had sought satisfactory 
and convincing information from it in vain ; if pardon, in vain ; if 
the healing of diseased souls, in vain ; if comfort in trouble, in vain ; 
long since had it ranked among idle theories, and been regarded as a 
monument — a stupendous monument, it is true, but still a mere monu- 
ment — of inventive genius. But has it been so ? Our Lord, as it 
were, stakes the truth of his teaching upon this issue: "Everyone 
that asketh receiveth ; and he that seeketh findeth ; and to him that 
knocketh it shall be opened." His doctrine abides this issue. Which 
of you has asked without receiving ? sought, without finding ? run to 
shelter, alarmed and trembling at the danger, without finding a secure 
and quiet refuge ? I ask you whether you do not set to your seal that 
God is true 1 Ah ! I hear many respond to this question. One says, 
" He hath led me by a way that I knew not ;" another, " I was brought 
low, and he helped me ;" another, « I was as a sheep going astray," 
but he reclaimed me from my wanderings, and I am now returned to 
the " Shepherd and Bishop of my soul." All who truly believe declare 
unitedly, " We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of 
our sins." 

Vol. II. 5 



66 the FRAILTY OF MAN, ETC. [SERMON LXI. 

It is this that makes the Gospel everlasting. It comes into daily 
experience. Youth, mature age, and hoary hairs, are all daily putting 
it to the proof. It is transmitted by one generation to another ; it is 
commended from the lips of declining years, and from dying couches, 
to the people that shall come hereafter ; and they rise up, and praise 
the Lord for his mercies, and for this the most wondrous of his mer- 
cies to the children of men. 

3. A third principle on which the perpetuity of the Gospel rests, is, 
that it is bound up essentially with the moral condition of man. It 
can, therefore, never become obsolete, because never inapplicable.— 
The Gospel is to be considered under two views in its relation to man : 
as remedial ; and as glorifying. 

The first supposes a fall, a disease, a state of misery and danger. 
As long, therefore, as man is fallen, diseased, guilty, helpless, and mi- 
serable, the remedy is necessary, and can never become useless. And 
where is it that man is not this fallen, this diseased, this wretched be- 
ing ? The world is now open ; every country, and every clime is 
visited, or reported of. But there is no race of happy beings, none 
who have obtained help and healing independent of the Gospel. It is 
applicable every where. 

And is there any probability that men will ever come into the world 
in a different condition ? Ages have rolled away, and man is what 
he was. As long, therefore, as man is born into the world with sin- 
ful propensities and guilty passions, he will need the salvation which 
the Gospel only reveals. To the end of time the Gospel will be as 
necessary as it is now ; and it will go on with our race to the end. — 
Man will ever need mercy ; and the mercy of God, holding out pardon, 
healing, and salvation, he will extend to the last man that shall be born 
of woman. Thus to the end of time it can never become obsolete ; 
never wax old. 

But it is also a glorifying dispensation. 

This is a wonderful world ; and I use it because it is in the new 
covenant. For if it had not been there, who could have lifted his 
thoughts so high, and attempted even to grasp the mighty, the ever- 
eluding thought, " Whom he justified, them he also glorified V This 
is peculiar to the Gospel. "This do, and thou shalt live." The law 
has no higher promise than this. But faith has. The Gospel not only 
provides life, not only a remedy, not only restitution to what sin for- 
feited ; but glory ; the glory of immortality : but not that alone ; it 
reveals immortality under peculiar circumstances : immortality with 
God, with Christ, in changeless, ever-increasing bliss, and moral and 
intellectual advancement. 

This carries on the Gospel through time into eternity ; and shows 
us how, in the extended use of that term, " the word of the Lord en- 
dureth for ever." How narrow are those views which have restrained 
the operation of the Gospel to the present state, and as though the 
general judgment, at the farthest, were to put an end to the new 
dispensation ! It is true, Christ will then " deliver up the kingdom to 
God even the Father, and God shall be all in all." But how is it that 
God will be all in all ? Whatever that deep and unfathomable decla- 
ration may import ; it is because Christ died, that God will be all in 
all to redeemed man. The title by which he holds that bliss is the 
2 



SEKMON LXI.I 



THE FRAILTY OF MAN, ETC. 07 



death of Christ ; and the source of those rivers of pleasure which shall 
roll on for ever was opened on the cross. " And he showed me," says 
the beloved disciple, caught up into the visions of God, '• a pure river 
of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the midst of the 
throne of God and of the Lamb," Rev. xxii, 1. "There appeared in 
the midst of the throne as it were a Lamb newly slain." His death 
has an everlasting freshness of merit and of power. The river of life, 
clear as crystal, denotes unmixed joy and purity. It flows from under 
the throne of God and the Lamb. Hear the song of the blessed. Does 
that intimate that the dispensation is come to its close 1 '• Worthy is 
the Lamb that was slain to receive glory, and honour, and wisdom, 
and blessing." No ; every thing there will for ever remind us of 
Christ. The body which Christ will eternally exhibit ; our own bodies, 
raised from dust to glory ; our souls, opening vast and unknown pow- 
ers to the communicated truth and vast designs of God ; our company, 
come, like us, out of tribulation and conflict ; our remembered sins, 
remembered to heighten the compassion which redeemed us out of all 
evil ; the very character of our love, love to a Deliverer ; the charac- 
ter of our bliss, repose after tumult, safe land after the storm, Canaan 
after the howling wilderness ; our peculiar union with God, an access 
to whom nothing could have opened but that which made God ineffa- 
bly all in all to man, — the sacrificial blood of Christ : these things 
will eternally present to the minds of the glorified hosts of heaven the 
mediatorial scheme revealed in the Gospel. " Because I live," says 
our Saviour, "ye shall live also." 

4. A fourth principle is, that the Gospel is the plan of God for saving 
the world. 

This establishes its perpetuity. The plan must be realized, the pur- 
pose of God accomplished. Let us hear how the apostle reasons upon 
this subject : " Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my know- 
ledge of the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made 
known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apos- 
tles and prophets by the Spirit ; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, 
and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ, by the 
Gospel : whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the 
grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, 
that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of 
Christ ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, 
which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who 
created all things by Jesus Christ : to the intent that now unto the 
principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the 
Church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose 
which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord," Eph. iii, 4-11. The 
apostle calls this a " mystery ;" a " mystery hid in God," till the pub- 
lication of the Gospel ; " an eternal purpose which he purposed in 
Christ Jesus our Lord." And what is this " mystery," this " purpose ?" 
It is, that " the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, 
and partakers of the promise in Christ by the Gospel ;" that " all men 
might see the fellowship of the mystery ;" that is, that they might par- 
take of its benefits. This plan is not yet accomplished. The Gospel, 
then, must continue, in every thing which relates to the present state, 

2 



68 THE FRAILTY OF MAS, ETC. [SERMON LXI. 

till all men » see the fellowship of the mystery ;" till all the Gentiles 
have the offer of the blessing. . T . 

The plan is laid, and the building must rise to answer it. It is true 
that the workmen have been sometimes negligent; the enemy has 
thrown down the work ; and in the best of times hitherto the sword 
and the trowel have been seen on the walls. But fear not. ' the 
God of heaven he will prosper us : therefore we his servants will arise 
and build." And let Sanballat and Tobiah mock, the city ot God shall 
rise, and his temple be consecrated. The kings of the earth shall bring 
their glory into it ; and the Lord God and the Lamb shall be the glory 
of it for ever and ever. Let them mock on. The Lord our God is 
with us, and the shout of a King is in our camp. 

Having shown you the immovable principles on which the perpetuity 
of the Gospel rests, let us, 

II. Consider the application of this great truth to our comfort and 
direction. 

To the practical uses of the subject we are directed by the very 
phrase of our text, as beautiful and just as it is moving and mournful. 
"All flesh is as grass :" not the strong and enduring tree of the forest; 
not even the shrub, but grass, — a word for the frailer vegetable tribes, 
the annual product of the field and the garden, which flourish and die 
within the compass of a single season. 

" All the glory of man," all that decorates and adorns his life, all 
that is beauty to the eye, or gives pleasure to the imagination, is 
still more frail ; it endures not the life of the short-lived plant which 
arrays itself in its beauty. "The grass withereth, and the flower 
fadeth." 

And this is not exaggeration. It is truth so obvious that every 
heart feels it, but that of fondly hoping and inexperienced youth. Be- 
hold the glory of the physical nature of man ; and make haste to be- 
hold it, or it will escape you. Youth, beauty, strength, the flow of 
feeling, and the rush of energy ; the wind of sickness, or care, or age, 
passes over them, and they are gone. Behold those circumstances and 
engagements which men plan for their pleasure and glory. A frost 
shall lay the flower in the dust ; or a blight leave its withered remains 
to shiver on the stem. 

Mark the flowers which remind us most of the bloom of Eden, and 
which shed the most healthy fragrance on our path through life : the 
happy social hearth ; the friendships founded on virtue ; the hallowed 
domestic relations ; the fellowship, the communion of saints. Separa- 
tions and death change the scene ; strangeness and solitude succeed ; 
the places of many know them no more ; and you mark the deserted 
place, and sigh that the occupant is gone. 

Mark the furrowed turf around you. It is heaved above its natural 
surface ; and it covers the generations of short-lived men. Like the 
herbage of the season, life and death have trodden in each other's foot- 
steps ; and the career of each still goes on. Death is at the heels of 
life, cutting down its pleasant plains, and sternly trampling into the 
dust its constant but vain creations. "All flesh is grass." 

Mark the glory of man's intellectual nature. Systems are formed, 
and opinions are advanced, without reference to this everlasting word, 
or in opposition to it ; but these products of an immortal mind are 



SERMON LXI.] THE FRAILTY OF MAN, ETC. 69 

mortal. They are imbued with its frailty. They dazzle or astonish 
us for the moment, and are forgotten. 

Mark the glory of collective man. United, he puts on the appear- 
ance of strength. He founds empires ; he builds cities ; he guards by 
his armies ; he cements by his policy. Ah ! vain attempt ! Still 
" all flesh is grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass." 
Trace the track of civilized and powerful man through the world, and 
you will find it covered with the wreck of his hopes ; and the very 
monuments of his power have been converted into the mockery of his 
weakness. His eternal cities moulder in their ruins ; the serpent hisses 
in the cabinet where he planned his empire. Echo itself is startled by 
the foot which breaks the silence that has reigned for ages in his hall 
of feast and song. Columns stand in the untrodden desert ; and the 
hut of the shepherd, or the den of the robber, shelters the only residents 
of his palaces. And the glory which now exists is crumbling every 
where, when it has not the cement of Christianity, and where it takes 
not something of perpetuity from the everlasting word. All heathen 
glory, and all Mohammedan pride, creak in the blast, and nod to their 
fall. The withering wind or the raging tempest shall pass over them 
in turn ; and men shall sit upon the ruins of their proudest grandeur, 
and by them shall be reminded that " all flesh is grass, and the goodli- 
ness of it as the flower of the field." 

But turn from these scenes. Though all flesh is grass, and all the 
glory of man as the fading flower ; yet all is not grass. 

Though the world moves, every thing does not move with it. No, 
not every thing within the reach of man ; not every thing in which 
man has, or may have, a possession ; for " the word of the Lord en- 
dureth for ever." 

1. Its mercy changes not. 

It turns the aspect of kindness upon you at all times, and in all 
changes. It has pity for your weakness, pardon for your sins, strength 
for your trials, direction for your difficulties, comfort for your sorrows. 
Change as the world and your circumstances may, this word never 
changes. In all the states of trouble and distress it sympathizes with 
us, and brings its aid. Are you troubled on account of sin ? Believe 
its promise of forgiveness. Are you pressed with outward sorrows ? 
Hear the promise : " Call upon me in the day of trouble ; I will deliver 
thee; and 'thou shalt glorify me." Is there a thorn in your flesh? 
That word declares that the grace of your Saviour is " sufficient for 
you." In every case it has a promise of cheering and inspiring 
comfort. 

2. The fulness of its supplies of spiritual blessings changes not. 
There is no dearth here. This covenant is ordered in all things, 

and sure ; and its gracious provisions meet every want through the 
whole of our mortal and immortal being. 

3. And death, while it strips of every thing else, has no power here. 
The word of God remains when strength, and health, and friends 

are gone. Its light, its hope, its inspiring courage remain, till we are 
ushered into the blissful presence of our God and Saviour. 

2 



70 PARADISE SHUT AND KE-OPENED. [SERMON LXII. 

Sermon LXII.— Paradise Shut, Guarded, and Re-opened. 



" So he drove out the man ; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden 
Cherubims, and a naming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the 
tree of life," Genesis iii, 24. 

Into the garden of Eden, that sacred enclosure, the great destroyer 
of mankind entered. He introduced into it the curse of sin, and in a 
moment the whole scene was changed. " Sin entered," says the apos- 
tie, " and death by sin." The vegetable beauty of Eden, and the in- 
habitants who dwelt in it, were given over to death. Man himself 
sunk into a dying life. The spirit became subject to the curse of alie- 
nation from God. Then was opened that fountain, the tide of whose 
miseries was soon hurried over all the earth. In that moment death 
commenced his career ; and ever since he has been feeding the grave 
insatiably with the bodies, and a yawning hell with the souls, of the 
race of Adam. We cannot be surprised that the first culprits were 
marked out for punishment ; and we have an affecting display of the 
Divine rod. Death itself was not inflicted immediately ; but the dread- 
ful sentence was passed by the offended Judge : " Dust thou art, and 
unto dust shalt thou return." And they were expelled from Eden to 
ruminate over their sin and folly, and to feel their wretchedness. " So 
he drove out the man ; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden 
Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the 
way of the tree of life." 

This is the affecting view which the text gives us of the state of the 
first human pair. They were excluded from the abode of their former 
innocence and pleasure ; frightened at the presence of the Cherubim 
and the flaming sword ; bending under the load of their guilt ; doomed 
to labour and sorrow, till they should sink into the dust, from whence 
they came. 

Our attention is directed by the text to two particulars ; and there 
is another which it is our blessedness to connect with them, not imme- 
diately suggested by the text, but by other parts of sacred Scripture. 

I. I will call your attention to paradise shut. 

II. To paradise guarded. 

III. To paradise re-opened. 

I. I will call your attention to the expulsion of man from paradise. 
" He drove out the man ; and he placed at the east gate," — and the 
only gate it had was on the east side, — he placed " Cherubims," an- 
gelic powers, " and a flaming sword," or more literally, a round flame 
of a sword ; ever flaming with pointed flames resembling a fiery sword, 
and turning every way to prevent every kind of access^and the possi- 
bility or hope of re-entering the garden, and of finding their way to 
the tree of life. 

We are struck with the fact, more than with the history. The garden 
of Eden was a solemn and impressive type. Eden partook of the com- 
mon curse, which was inflicted on all the earth. It was permitted for 
a time to remain in fading beauty ; and there continued at the gate 
these Cherubim and flaming swords ; these flamings of the dreadful 
■effects of sin ; showing the impossibility of regaining, by any human 
2 



SERMON LXII.] PARADISE SHUT AND RE-OFENED. 71 

power, what Adam had lost. Considering it in this light, the naming 
Cherubim before the gate are designed to represent what man lost, 
and the impossibility of regaining it, and also our dreadful participa- 
tion in the loss of our first parents. 

Let us, then, inquire what man is shut out of, when he is shut out 
of paradise. What did he lose ? 

1. He lost the happiness of his external condition. 

In paradise all was happiness. There was no pain, no want, no 
sorrow, no tear, no death. When driven out, he was driven into the 
wilderness of wo, to gain his bread by the sweat of his brow ; to lin- 
ger out a few years in disappointment, pain, and misery, and then to 
die. This is the condition of man. Little external happiness sur- 
rounds him in the present life. What he has, he derives from the su- 
perabundant grace of Christ ; for every particle of it was forfeited by 
ain. Man is now doomed to toil, frequent sorrows, tears, and finally 
to death. 

2. When man was excluded from paradise, he lost, too, the upright- 
ness and purity of his moral nature. 

This loss infinitely exceeded in wretchedness the loss of his exter- 
nal condition. " God made man upright." This expression intimates 
that there was in his nature a tendency to good ; that good was his 
element. The understanding aspired after it ; the will clave to it ; 
the affections rejoiced in it. In him all was order, and all was peace. 
The moment that sin infected the moral nature of man, it spread 
through the whole character. The understanding became darkened ; 
the will rebellious ; the affections were vitiated ; in a word, he became 
a sinner. "The whole head was sick, and the whole heart faint." We 
have shared in this loss. The nature of man is corrupt ; and the cor- 
ruption extends to every descendant of Adam. The fact proves this. 
It is proved by the experience of every man, and of every child. We 
go astray from the womb. Does any person require Scripture proof? 
Two passages, I think, will be sufficient. " That," said Jesus, in his 
discourse with Nicodemus, " that which is born of the flesh is flesh, 
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." This expression, — 
" that which is born of the flesh," — signifies, that what is born of man 
is sinful. "They that are in the flesh cannot please God." Such, 
then, is our infected nature, tending continually to evil. There is in 
us " an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God." — 
Without an entire and radical conversion, no man can enter into the 
kingdom of heaven. His upright, moral nature man lost when para- 
dise was lost. 

3. Man then lost his approving conscience. 

He must have had that in his primitive state. Without that all the 
delights of Eden could not have made him happy. It is that which 
gives and sustains the happiness of angels. It is something analogous 
to that in which the happiness of the infinitely blessed God consists ; 
a consciousness of the infinite purity of his nature; the rectitude of all 
his actions. The mind at one with itself, the heart serene and tran- 
quil, the enjoyment of inward self satisfaction ; all this was lost when 
sin was felt. 

In this loss we have all shared in consequence of our connection 
■with our corrupt head and representative. We are transgressors. 

2 



72 PARADISE SHUT AND RE-OPENED. [SERMON 1XII. 

Every man, more or less, feels the pain of an accusing conscience, 
and carries about with him the inward reproofs of his own mind, 
which cast a gloom over the brightest condition in which on earth he 
can be placed. 

4. When paradise was lost, intercourse with God was lost. 

There must have been, between man in a state of innocence, and 
the ever-blessed God, habitual intercourse. There must have been in 
his spirit the continual sense, the exulting sense, of the Divine pre- 
sence. Beside this, certain it is, that every act of devotion would 
carry the first pair into closer and more intimate intercourse with God. 
It is highly probable that God condescended so far as by a sensible 
manifestation of himself on the morning and evening of each day, to 
receive their personal worship, and hold intercourse with them. We 
have an intimation that he walked in the garden, calling on Adam, 
who knew his voice. How would the whole of this time, when God 
was visible to man, and when they were permitted to have intercourse 
with him, and to acknowledge him as their Friend, rest on their me- 



mories 



But see the difference when man became a sinner. The thought of 
God then became oppressive. The fallen pair heard the voice of God, 
and hid themselves. In this sad loss we have participated. It is a 
solemn and serious fact, that in the heart of sinful man there is no 
love to God. In all his thoughts there is an aversion to God. The 
very remembrance of God is irksome and oppressive to him. Prayer 
is a burden ; religious ordinances are a weariness ; and so is every 
thing in which God is seen and enjoyed. There is no inclination in 
man's corrupt heart to seek him. Every sinful man is without God, 
and therefore without hope. 

5. The last circumstance I shall mention is, that he was prevented 
all access to the tree of life : " He placed Cherubim, and a flaming 
sword to guard the way to the tree of life." 

There are two opinions with respect to the tree of life. We shall 
not attempt to decide between them. Both may be just. One opinion 
is, that the tree of life was a tree which God had endowed with potent 
medicinal and healing virtues ; by occasionally eating the fruit of 
which the body of Adam was preserved in an undiseased and undecay- 
ing state. When he offended, it was therefore a necessary conse- 
quence that he should be debarred from a tree of this kind, inasmuch 
as sentence of death was passed upon him. 

The other opinion is, — and we shall see it is not irreconcilable with 
Scripture, — that the tree of life was a kind of sacrament. As the 
promise of immortality was given to Adam, every time he ate of this 
tree by God's appointment, he expressed his faith in God's promise ; 
and God, as often as he ate of it, sealed the promise of immortality to 
man. In this view sin excluded man from the tree of life, as he "lost 
his title to immortality. 

In this loss, too, we have participated. We are without the tree of 
life. We cannot have access to that which prevented the approach 
of death. The way to it is closed. On the ground of the covenant of 
works, what man can expect eternal life, immortal blessedness, after 
this present scene of things ? Both with respect to the body and the 
mind all approach to the tree of life is denied. 
2 



SERMON LXII.] PARADISE SHUT AND RE-OPENED. 73 

Such is the loss which Adam sustained, and in which his descend- 
ants have participated with him. 

As we have contemplated the shutting of paradise, I will call your 
attention, 

II. To paradise guarded. " So he drove out the man ; and he placed 
at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which 
turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." 

What could be intended by a dispensation of this kind, but an inti- 
mation, not only that man had lost all by sin ; but also the impossi- 
bility, by his own efforts, of regaining that condition which he had 
lost ? What man dare approach this flame ? What man dare expose 
himself to the point of the burning fiery sword ? Its dreadful aspect 
kept the first pair at an awful distance from the scene of so much ter- 
ror ; from that which displayed so much of the majesty and the anger 
of God. 

The subject is not unprofitable to us in the present day. Paradise 
is guarded, as to you, by all the awful, all the terrible perfections of 
God ; so that, except by the dispensation which I shall have occasion 
to mention, if man is left to himself, it is impossible for him, in any 
instance, to regain the favour of God. As for Adam, the verse says, 
there were flaming swords, and bands of flaming Cherubim, to prevent 
his entering that state of blessedness from which he was driven. From 
the contemplation of God's perfections, revealed under aspects so ter- 
rific, no sinner can find the least hope of regaining the Divine favour. 
Not from any single perfection of the Divine character, or from all his 
perfections together, can the transgressor derive the least hope of par- 
don, purity, or happiness. 

Do you expect forgiveness of sins and a restoration to the Divine 
favour from the majesty of God ? Is it not easy to conceive that in 
proportion as God's majesty is manifested to man, man's condition as a 
sinner becomes more hopeless ? When we offend against the Majesty 
of heaven, in proportion as we do so, doubtless there is less hope of 
forgiveness. What hope can a creature have, who derives his exist- 
ence from almighty God, sets himself in opposition to the will of his 
Maker, dares to despise his power, trample under foot his authority, and 
violate those laws which are holy and just and good ? The majesty of 
God is one of those flames placed at the east gate of Eden, and which 
guards, by its terrible burnings, the way to the tree of life. 

Can we derive any expectation or hope from the holiness of God ? 
Can we make this plea, that because God is holy, we, as sinners, may 
expect deliverance? If God be infinitely pure, so pure as to charge 
his angels with folly, and we are told the heavens are not pure in his 
sight ; then his purity must be expressed by his aversion to sin ; his 
irreconcilable aversion to that which is opposed to an essential .quality 
of his nature. Then he must also express his aversion to sinners who 
are infected by it. Contemplated as sinners, or in a state of evil, we 
must be abhorred by the purity of almighty God ; for " God is angry 
with the wicked every day." The clearer the discoveries are of the 
Divine holiness, the more it appals us in our condition as depraved and 
guilty. 

Should we derive any hope from the truth of God ? What is truth? 
His truth is particularly manifested, by the observation of his word. 

2 



74 PARADISE SHUT AND KE-OrENED. [SERMON LXII. 

In that observation we see the fulfilment of threatenings as well as of 
promises. It would be a great impeachment of the truth of God, not 
to fulfil his solemn threatenings as well as his covenant of promise. 
Let every one who expects that the denunciation of Divine vengeance 
will fall to the ground hear the words, " Heaven and earth shall pass 
away ; but my word shall not pass away." There will be as exact an 
accomplishment of the Divine threatenings, as of God's covenant en- 
gagements. " The strength of Israel is not a man, that he should lie; 
nor the son of man, that he should repent." Then the truth of God is 
one of those flames of fire which wave every way to forbid, by their 
frightful aspect, any hope of access to the forfeited paradise, and its 
tree of life. 

Can we derive any hope from the justice of God ? What is justice? 
It is the giving to every man according as his work shall be. Can we 
have hope, as sinners, on such ground as this ? Can we feel any hope 
from the consideration, that we shall be rewarded according to our 
works 1 Justice consists in that, and nothing else. Glory, honour, 
and peace, are promised to every man that doeth good ; tribulation, 
and anguish are denounced against every man that doeth evil ; and 
God's justice will execute the threatened penalty. We may collect 
this from the frequent allusion in Holy Scripture to the process of being 
weighed. God has said he will search the heart, and try the reins, 
and ponder and weigh the path of man. Are all weighed ? Then 
what is good God will reward exactly ; and what is evil shall be pun- 
ished exactly. Hence, the writing on the wall was, " Tekel : thou art 
weighed in the balance, and found wanting." Hope from justice, then, 
there is none. That is another of the flaming swords which keep the 
way to the tree of life. 

You say there is goodness. May we not hope on the ground that 
God is good ? God is good ; and yet it is my duty to say that, con- 
sidered merely as a sinner, separate from every other consideration, 
there is no hope from the Divine goodness for the forgiveness of man, 
and his restoration to holiness. We are to recollect, in considering 
goodness as another character of God, that he is perfectly good. The 
perfection of an infinite Being is absolute ; so that one perfection is 
not injurious to the rest, but they all operate in perfect harmony. In 
consequence of this, the goodness of God can never be indulged at the 
expense of his justice and purity. If this were done, our God would 
cease to be a perfect being. To illustrate this : a judge condemns a 
criminal. If he is much given to compassion, he may pity the crimi- 
nal at the bar ; he may shed tears when he passes sentence ; but the 
sentence is demanded by the law. The king is the fountain of mercy, 
apt to feel compassion ; yet the honour of his government, and the good 
of society, require the infliction of the sentence. So it is with respect 
to God himself, and his moral government of the world. There is 
no hope for the sinner from the goodness of God. According to the 
original covenant, happiness was secured to man while he retained his 
allegiance ; but there is no hope to sinful and rebellious man from any 
of these attributes of God. 

But you say, " Is there not mercy in the Divine Being ?" Mercy 
signifies pity for the miserable, and pardon for the guilty. There is 
mercy in the Divine nature ; but what then ? We are wrongs if we 



SERMON 1XII.] PARADISE SHUT AND RE-OPENED. 75 

suppose that mercy is a distinct attribute of God ; it is not so, but a 
modification of goodness. It is one mode in which goodness operates. 
Therefore, whatever restricts the operation of goodness, restricts the 
operation of mercy. Man, when expelled from paradise, could have 
no idea of mercy. 

It is contended we may be pardoned on the ground of prerogative. 
On the ground of prerogative God Almighty never has exercised mercy 
to guilty man ; on other grounds he has ; but on the ground of pre- 
rogative no hope can rest. 

Here, then, we find paradise guarded ; guarded by all those awful 
perfections of God of which the awful flame and the Cherubim were 
but faint emblems : dooming man first to misery, and then to despair ; 
to despair, as far as he himself, and the perfections of God, are sepa- 
rately considered. 

I pass cheerfully to the last part of our subject. 

III. Paradise re-opened. 

The Redeemer appears, removing these guards, and throwing open 
the gate of heaven to the tree of life itself. 

That paradise has been opened is evident from a great number of 
passages of Scripture. When Jesus hung upon the cross, he said to 
a thief, — to a man of vile moral character, — to a sinner of no com- 
mon malignity, but a penitent, — " This day shalt thou be with me in 
paradise." Paradise then was opened. St. Paul, writing to the Co- 
rinthians, tells us he was caught up into paradise, and heard unutter- 
able things ; things which fell so sweetly upon his ears, that afterward 
he longed to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. In a passage of the 
Revelation of St. John, we find these expressions : " Blessed are they 
that do his commandments, that they may have right unto the tree of 
life." Paradise is opened, then. If not the earthly paradise, yet all 
that constituted it. Paradise is the pardon of sin ; peace of con- 
science ; a restoration to the image of God. These give a right to 
the tree of life, which flourishes with unfading beauty in the heaven 
of God. 

How did this great event take place ? How were these guards re- 
moved 1 How were these flaming swords quenched ? The way was 
this. Jesus, the Son of God, was made flesh, and dwelt among us ; 
he took upon him the character and office of the second Adam. One 
was the destroyer, the other the Restorer. The one sinned, and 
brought death on his posterity ; the other was righteous, and suffered 
the penalty of sin, and gave his life for his spiritual posterity. In 
oth'jr words, Jesus Christ took upon him our nature ; in our behalf 
approached the flaming Cherubim ; and by his might removed every 
hinderance out of the way, and opened a passage into the paradise of 
God. He submitted to die as a sin offering, and quenched every flam- 
ing sword in his own blood. 

The more clearly we conceive of this wondrous method of salvation, 
the better established will be our faith, and the higher our admiration 
will rise. There is not a perfection in the Divine character, the ven- 
geance of which was not suffered by the Son of God ; and the glory 
of the Divine attributes is as much displayed by the death of Christ 
as they could have been by the personal condemnation of the human 
race. So that, by this wondrous plan, a door of hope is opened, and a 

2 



76 PARADISE SHUT AND RE-OPENED. [SERMON LXII. 

promise of salvation and eternal life is given ; and yet every perfec 
tion of God remains unspotted. 

For instance : do we see the holiness of God, one of those flames of 
fire glaring fearfully on the mind of the guilty sinner ? The death of 
Christ illustrated that holiness. It is certain that God has never for- 
given a sinner but through the death of his only-begotten Son. That 
death displayed so great a hatred of sin, that the holiness of God was 
illustrated by it. 

Do we speak of Divine truth ? All the truth of God was answered 
by the death of Christ. The sentence was death, bodily and mental ; 
and both were suffered by Jesus Christ. The dignity of his nature 
gave value and virtue to his suffering, fully adequate to the salvation 
of the millions of the human race. One word of God did not fall to 
the ground. You recollect, when looking at the infirmity of the human 
nature in Christ, he said, " Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass 
from me," an angel was sent from heaven. For what purpose ? to 
mitigate his punishment ? No ; truth demanded the full punishment, 
and so did justice. It was not to mitigate the punishment ; but the 
angel was sent from heaven to strengthen him to undergo the whole 
of it. Had it not been for that, probably his own nature had died in 
the agony in the garden. The whole of the sentence must be endured, 
and the man supernaturally strengthened, that the justice of God might 
be honoured ; that He who said, " My soul is exceeding sorrowful, 
even unto death," might carry the cross, and say, " My God, my God, 
why hast thou forsaken me ?" These perfections being thus honoured, 
goodness and mercy are allowed to come into operation. This great 
Substitute of ours, this second Adam, went to the gate, and collected 
all these flames, and, by the shedding of his own blood, found a me- 
thod of reconciling them to the mild and encouraging glories of the 
Divine nature. He turned them into the complexion of mercy ; and 
now from the grave of the dead Saviour arises that sacred, that invi- 
gorating, that cheering light which shines upon the way to the throne 
of grace here, and the paradise of God hereafter. 

In consequence of this, much of paradise is restored on earth ; such 
as a peaceful conscience, arising from the pardon of sin, restoring us 
to the favour of God, and blessed intercourse with him. His image 
is traced again on the renewed spirit, which is to be sanctified through 
all its powers. 

Go and claim paradise then. Go up to the gate and take the name 
of Jesus. By virtue of his blood you will find the door opened, and a 
safe way opened to the heavenly grace. With penitence confess your 
sins, that you may receive the communications of the Divine love. 

There is a tree of paradise above. The gate of death, as to every 
believer, is the gate of this paradise. When we approach it, no flaming 
Cherubim guard it. When we go through the valley of the shadow 
of death, we need fear no evil. The disembodied spirit, passing through 
the gate, enters the paradise where Jesus Christ himself is ; where he 
himself is the tree of life ; where he took the body, restored to immor- 
tality, and will keep it immortal for ever. There the external condi- 
tion of the saints is much higher than was the external condition of 
the first pair. " For I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Be- 
hold, the tabernacle of God is with men." 
2 



SEKMON LXII.] PAEADISE SHUT AND RE-OPENED. 77 

This, then, is that paradise which God, by the gift of his Son Jesus 
Christ, by his wondrous love, has opened to us in this life, and in the 
life to come. And this is to be added to it : it is to be a deathless one. 
Behold, they that do his commandments have right to the tree of life ; 
they have an eternal charter to it. " Where sin abounded grace doth 
much more abound." 

I will close the subject simply, and in few words, by putting you in 
possession of those means by which you can personally avail yourselves 
of the advantages Christ has purchased, and acquire a personal right 
to the paradise of grace on earth, and glory in heaven. 

A few words will suffice. There are conditions. I do not mean to 
use that word controversially, but I use it in a sense in which persons 
of every sound theological creed will concur. The first condition is 
deep penitence. And is it not right that we who have sinned against 
so much majesty and mercy, — we -wliose obdurate hearts never flowed 
with love, even at the tidings of what the Saviour did for us, when he 
endured the flames of the Divine displeasure, and offered himself a 
sacrifice in our stead, — Is it not right that we should repent in the 
deepest sorrow and humiliation ? If you will not confess and forsake 
your sins, you must endure the bitter consequences of them for ever. 
If the first thing required of you is refused, by your own obstinacy, then, 
though paradise is opened to the believer, it is shut to you. 

There must be an express act of faith in Jesus Christ ; a believing 
acceptance of his blessed sacrifice ; an acceptance of God's mercy, 
displayed to you by the death of his Son. For the sake of that death 
you are to be accepted of God, to the exclusion of all human merit and 
boasting. 

There must be more. There must be a living by faith on the Son 
of God ; a conversion of heart by the influence of the Divine Spirit ; 
or it will be impossible finally to enter into paradise, and partake of 
the tree of life. Repentance, faith, humble, persevering holiness, are 
required of all of you. On the one hand, if you have not believed, and 
entered in, you are still in the wilderness of wo, under the curse of 
God, doomed to the short-lived pleasures of this world, and afterward 
to the regions of damnation for ever. See the sentence still hanging 
over you : " Dust thou art." See a more dreadful sentence still, the 
sentence of eternal banishment from God. This is the condition of 
those who obey not the Gospel of Christ. Turn and look on Him 
whom you have pierced, and mourn because of him. Come, in hum- 
ble desire, to the throne of the heavenly grace. Come, and claim the 
blessings so dearly purchased. 

To you who have regained the way of God, though you are still 
liable to the death of the body, — to disease, and sorrow, and pain, — I 
would say, Recollect Him of whom the apostle speaks : " Christ, though 
a Son, learned obedience by the things which he suffered." Though 
sons, you are called to learn discipline by the things that you suffer. 
Keep the heavenly prize in view. For that clay prepare, that you may 
enter in by the blood of the Lamb ; sit under the shadow of the tree 
of life ; eat of it, and enjoy the fruits of it for ever. 

God grant you this grace. Amen. 

2 



78 ABUSE OF THE LONG SUFFERING OF GOD. [SERMON LXIII. 

Sermon LXIII.— Abuse of the Long Suffering of God. 



"These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was 
altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them m order 
before thine eyes," Psalm 1, 21. 

This psalm is in proof that the doctrine of a future state was known 
to the ancient Jews. It was written either by Asaph, or for Asaph, 
as master of the choral service ; and, therefore, at the time when the 
Jewish dispensation was existing in its most perfect forrn^ 

But even then there were " Israelites after the flesh," as well as 
"after the Spirit;" observers of sacrifices and ceremonies, but violat- 
ers of moral precepts ; and yet, depending upon their external piety for 
exemption from the punishment of moral offences. 

The solemnities of the future judgment are therefore exhibited to 
arouse them, and bring them to repentance ; and at the bar of the 
majesty of God all their religious delusions are dissipated. 

One of these delusions is marked in the text. The delay of the 
punishment of sin was made an argument for remaining in it ; nay, 
more, the long suffering of God was pleaded against the revealed re- 
presentations of his justice, until the fatal conclusion was arrived at, 
that God was like themselves. 

This fatal error was not peculiar to that age. Solomon lays it down 
as a general observation, " Because sentence against an evil work is 
not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully 
set in them to do evil." And wherever man will indulge in sin, the 
same effect, more or less, follows. It is a delusion of corrupt human 
nature, wherever that nature is found ; and it becomes our duty to guard 
you against it, or to rescue you from it. 

Let us then consider, 

I. How the long suffering or " silence " of God ought to be inter- 
preted. 

II. The corrupt perversion of this affecting doctrine by sinful men ; 
" Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself." 

III. The fatal results at the last day. 

I. The perversion of the patience and silence of God as to punish- 
ment, to purposes of religious sloth, formality or corruption, is one of 
the most unnatural acts we can conceive ; and it supposes an ignorance 
and an ingratitude equally criminal. 

This will appear if we consider the principles on which it has 
pleased God himself to place this kind and gracious branch of his ad- 
ministration. 

1. The appointment of a state of moral exercise and probation. 

In this state we have to acquire a knowledge of the will of God, to 
struggle with temptation, and to attain the important habit of faith,— 
an implicit trust in God's word. To all these things sudden punish- 
ment would be contrary ; probation would be terminated at once, as 
soon as it was begun ; and we should " walk by sight," and not " by 
faith." Before the antediluvian world was destroyed by the flood, be- 
fore the plagues of Egypt were inflicted, before Jerusalem was destroyed 
by the Roman armies, and in all similar visitations of Divine Provi- 
2 



SERMON LXIII.] ABUSE OF THE LONG SUFFERING OF GOD. 79 

dence, " the long suffering of God waited" for the penitence of the 
people ; and the threatened vengeance was delayed till their iniquities 

were full. 

2. Another principle appears to be, that we may see the evil of sin 
in itself, as well as in its penal results. 

This it is important for man to know. God wills not an obedience 
from fear only, but from conviction ; and every thing we observe with 
care may instruct us in this, that sin is folly and misery. Fix, for ex- 
ample, upon any evil passion or act. Nay, take the most prosperous 
sinners. Is their case such as you can seriously envy ? Ask yourselves 
what fruit you had in those things of which you are now ashamed. 
" Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall 
reprove thee." But all this is in consequence of God's long suffering; 
of his delaying the final punishment. 

3. That he may honour the sacrifice and intercession of his Son. 
The effect of these is to postpone his judgment, that the terms of 

reconciliation may be proposed. Christ is an advocate. The barren 
fig tree was spared at the urgent request of the vine dresser ; and in 
honour of his Son, " who ever liveth to make intercession for us," God 
is pleased to vouchsafe a longer space to the despisers of his law, and 
the neglecters of his salvation. Nay, in some instances, God conde- 
scends thus to answer the prayers of his people, presented to him in 
behalf of the ungodly. 

4. He also intends the manifestation of his love in seeking with 
earnestness our recovery. 

So he " wills not the death of a sinner," and multiplies means for 
his recovery. Thus we are to " account that the long suffering of 
our Lord is salvation." He is unwilling to cut us off, and therefore 
gives space for repentance, and a life of piety. 

II. The corrupt perversion of this doctrine by sinful men. They 
think that God is " like themselves ;" and, in matters of religion and 
moral accountability, bring Deity down to their own standard. 

When the Gentiles made gods, they made them like themselves : 
and the same process takes place in the heart, when there is no visible 
idolatry. Men regard God through the dark medium of their own ob- 
scure and perverted minds ; and, in imagination, pour those darkening 
shadows upon his character, which, in fact, surround themselves. 

1. The largest class of men are those who live in a state of almost 
total indifference to their actions. 

Perhaps these seldom hear the truth, and never read it. This is 
not to be accounted for, but from a vague notion that their sins are as 
indifferent to God, as they are to themselves. Having scarcely any 
knowledge, they have scarcely any conscience, except it may be as to 
the grosser offences against the property or persons of others. For 
the rest, they have no perception of their evil ; and if they think of 
God at all, they must think him "like themselves." They have no 
deep and serious impression, that the corruption of their nature ren- 
ders them infinitely hateful to the holy God, and exposes them to his 
vengeance. 

2. We have another class, which comprehends the various kinds of 
infidel or unbelieving men. 

These have more thought ; but only to the same or worse issues. 

2 



80 ABUSE OF THE LONG SUFFERING OF GOD. [SERMON LXIII. 

They have a disposition to speculate on the Divine nature ; but how 
great a share a corrupt heart has in directing their conclusions, may 
appear from the fact, the striking fact, that all infidel theories have 
gone to create security in sin, and to encourage and palliate vice. — 
Take, for example, the ancient infidels, who said, " How doth God 
know ?" Take those who, under pretence of honouring God, thought 
it beneath him to look upon human affairs. Take those who pretend 
that our sins are the result of circumstances, in which God hath 
placed us ; and that, therefore, he will not punish them. Take any 
other shades of infidelity, those which are most common. Their abet- 
tors find fault with our system of theology ; and sometimes they give 
us another. But do they give us a purer holiness ? Do they make 
vice more detestable ? Do they plant any new guards around virtue ? 
Just the contrary. Their standard is not only lower, but " earthly, 
sensual," and often "devilish." All this proves a total insensibility 
to the real evil of sin. Infidels transfer this to God, and make him 
"like themselves." 

3. Another class of men take partial views of sin. 

We may allow these to go farther than those we have already men- 
tioned. They consider as sins, and as punishable, all violations of 
external morality, that is, all personal intemperance, all violations 
of justice and social and civil obligations ; but of numerous other and 
deeper offences they are insensible. They see no sin in pride, though 
it is so hateful to God ; nor in envy, malice, and uncharitableness, 
which violate the love of our neighbour ; nor in unbelief, though God 
has made it a damning sin ; nor in that worldly spirit, which makes 
them every hour violate the " first and great commandment" of the 
law, — the love of God. Now, if they saw that for these they are as 
much under the curse as for any other, would they be so insensible! 
They transfer the same superficial views to God ; they think him " like 
themselves." 

4. Religious formalists, who think that ceremonies please God ; that 
he is a ceremonious being, pleased with outward things. 

How does he dissipate these low, but prevalent, notions in this 
psalm ! " I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offer- 
ings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out 
of thy house, nor he-goat out of thy folds. For every beast of the fo- 
rest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the 
fowls of the mountains : and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If 
I were hungry, I would not tell thee : for the world is mine, and the 
fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of 
goats ? Offer unto God thanksgiving ; and pay thy vows unto the 
Most High." We proceed to consider, 

III. The fatal result of all these delusions at the last day. " I will 
reprove thee, and set them in order," array them, " before thine 
eyes." 

The words appear very emphatic, and the latter explanatory of the 
former clause. " I will reprove thee," not by lengthened reasoning 
and argument then ; that belongs to the present state ; — so God says, 
" Come now and let us reason together ;" — but he will then carry the 
conviction home in a more compendious way : " I will set them in 
order," array them as an army drawn up. 
2 



SERMON LXIII.] ABUSE OF THE LONG SUFFERING OF GOD. 81 

Let us pursue the subject in our thoughts. It is awakening but 
salutary. 

1. They shall be arrayed in their number. 

We forget our sins ; yet were we to set ourselves to compute those 
of one day, how surprised should we be by their number ! What then 
should we think of a life spent in sin ! God never forgets them ; all 
come from their recesses, and are " set in order" before the eyes of the 
wicked. If they have been committed in secret, they are now made 
manifest. 

2. They shall be arrayed in full and disclosing light, " before our 
eyes." 

With this compare Psalm xc, 8, "Thou hast set our iniquities be- 
fore thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance." Our own 
eye is opened ; and the light of God shines about all our offences. 
These we must compare with the true standard ; with the law, with 
the holiness of God, with the purity of Christ ; and thus the terrible 
discovery of the " exceeding sinfulness of sin" will shut our mouths in 
silence. 

3. They shall be arrayed as connected with their root and principle 
in the heart. 

Outward acts are comparatively few ; but the sins of the heart take 
their places in the ample ranks of the array, of which they fill the great- 
est space. Thoughts of evil indulged ; envy, discontent, murmuring ; 
the restless heaving of the carnal, unsubdued mind against the authority 
of God ; anger, which is murder ; lust, adultery, — all, all shall be set in 
array. 

4. They shall be arrayed in their relations. 

Sins are related to each other. One is the parent of others ; and 
there they shall stand arrayed, like the divisions of an army, each under 
its chief. 

Pride at the head of ambition, oppression, unfeelingness, cruelty, 
contempt, and vanity. 

Covetousness, with its natural products of base worldliness, denials 
of the claims of the cause of God and of the poor, cheating, knavery, 
and robbery. 

Sensuality, with its thousand acts of gluttony and intemperance. 

The enmity of the carnal mind to God, with its hatred of the light, 
contempt of good men, love of religious errors, and having in its skirts 
the blood of martyrs. 

Sloth, with its neglected opportunities, broken Sabbaths, despised 
ordinances ; its hypocrisies and masking formalities. 

What an array ! Also, 

5. There shall be an array of consequences. 

" One sinner destroyeth much good." This will never be fully known 
tdl the day of judgment. Every sinner is charged with his share in 
the world's corruption, a nation's vices, the Church's apostasies. But 
we may be more particular. Is the sinner a minister ? How many 
of the blind has he led into the ditch ? Is he a master ? How many 
of those under his influence has he corrupted ? Is he a parent ? The 
blood of his children is upon him. Every sinner is chargeable, in some 
degree, with consequences. 

6. But the final array shall be of sins against God's mercy ; against 
Vol. II. g 



82 FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD. [sERMON LXIV. 

the love of the Father, of the Son, of the Holy Spirit, of the Bible, of 
the Christian ministry, of the Church, of parents and friends. 

Now this array you must meet, if you die unpardoned. Take, then, 
the exhortation, " Now consider this, ye that forget God. 

Consider, 

1. Its truth. It is fixed. Heaven and earth shall pass away ; but 
the purposes of God to judge the world shall stand. 

2. That you are warned in order that you may escape. O suffer 
not the warning to be lost upon you ! 

3. That death may be at hand ; and then all is judgment as to you. 
Contemplate the soul in a separate state ; the terrors of the general 
judgment ; the intolerable miseries of hell ! 

4. That you must set sin in array now, if you would escape and fly 
to Him whose blood will plead for you against your sins. Yes, it now 
pleads ! Happy state of a soul, as to which sin is blotted out, never to 
be remembered ! Who shall lay any thing to the charge of that soul ? 
" It is God that justifieth." 

In that day it shall be said, " Gather my saints together unto me ; 
those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." 



Sermon LXIV. — Friendship with the World. 



" Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world 
is enmity with God ? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the 
enemy of God," James iv, 4. 

This epistle was written to the Jewish converts scattered throughout 
the world, and especially in Asia Minor. Many of them were poor and 
persecuted ; and to these the apostle administers consolation. The 
vices of the unbelieving Jews among whom they lived were many ; and 
these he reproves, and teaches the persons to whom he wrote how to 
reprove them. And it is probable that many Jews had at that time 
joined the Christian Church, who were converted but nominally, and 
brought all the hypocrisy and worldliness of Judaism into Christianity. 
However that be, it is clear from the epistle that the apostle addresses 
three classes ; the pious and troubled, — the rich and vicious, — and a 
third class of cowardly conformists to the world, who, for credit among 
men, for interest or pleasure, betrayed the cause of Christ, and hazard- 
ed their souls. To this class of professors, the text is a powerful ad- 
dress ; and as human nature is always the same, and we are always 
exposed to the same dangers, I wish to make a calm appeal to your 
judgment and consciences upon the important topics which it contains. 

Four things will call our attention. 

I. The world, the friendship of which is courted by treacherous and 
lukewarm Christians. 

II. The manner in which this unsanctified friendship with the world 
manifests itself. 

III. The aggravation of the crime charged. 

IV That more excellent way which the apostle's denunciation sug. 
gests. 
2 



SERMON LXIV.] FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD. 83 

I. The world, the friendship of which is courted by treacherous and 
lukewarm Christians. 

When we are guarded against intercourse or friendship with a party, 
it is necessary that the party be marked out by specific characters. 
Here too we must be guided by Scripture. We are not at liberty to 
say that all who religiously differ from us are " of the world ;" nor, on 
the other hand, that those who agree with us are not "of the world." 
The text was not designed to nourish bigotry, but to guard purity. 

Some, indeed, would stretch their charity very boundlessly ; and 
contend that, by the world we are to u: lerstand all who are not pro- 
fessed Christians ; all heathens and Mohammedans, for instance. If 
so, it would be very easy for us to keep ourselves unspotted. But, 
brethren, the doctrine of Scripture is, that there is a world in the pro- 
fessing Church. The term was first used by our Lord. He uses it 
to designate not pagans merely, but a part, a great part, of the Jews, 
who were God's visible Church. 

Think it not strange, then, that we should find a world within the 
pale of the Christian Church. We shall apply no other than our Lord's 
own rules ; and by them we shall detect it, and array it in characters 
so marked that you cannot mistake. 

Among the Jews, the professing people of God, mark ! whom did 
Christ designate " the world ?" All vicious and vain persons : " Light 
is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, be- 
cause their deeds were evil." 

All worldly persons, who preferred earthly to spiritual things : So, 
in the parable, "one went to his farm, another to his merchandise;" 
and the master of the feast passes a sentence of exclusion upon them. 
He was angry, and said, " None of those men which were bidden shall 
taste of my supper." 

All persons ignorant of the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures, so 
as to have no spiritual knowledge or taste : " Had ye believed Moses, 
ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me." They did not be- 
lieve him, because they did not believe the spiritual testimony of the 
law and the prophets. 

All Pharisaic formalists, enemies of the cross of Christ, and of spi- 
ritual religion. 

All Sadducean skeptics, whatever may be their learning, eloquence, 
rank, who are vitiated by their unbelief. 

By these marks you may always detect the world in the Church ; 
from which world you are to come out as much as the primitive Chris- 
tians from their pagan neighbours. 

We proceed to consider, 

II. The manner in which that unsanctified friendship with the 
world, which is condemned in the text, manifests itself. 

And here we must guard, both on the right hand and on the left. — 
To keep ourselves " unspotted from the world," we are not to go out of 
the world. Christians ought to be found in every lawful path of life ; 
and God puts them into every various state, that they may show that 
they have by faith the victory over the world in the noblest sense : in 
poverty over murmuring ; in riches, over sordidness and vanity ; in the 
way of temptations to pleasure, that they may deny themselves ; in the 
walks of business, that they may exhibit an honourable rectitude. They 

2 



84 FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD. [SERMON LXIV. 

are open to the seductions of taste and imagination, that they may 
mortify the mind, as well as the senses, by checking excesses ; and to 
wrongs and injuries, that they may triumph by meekness, and the spirit 
of generous forgiveness. . 

Let it be also understood, that this friendship with the world is not 
to be avoided by surliness of manners ; not by indifference to the good 
opinion of the world itself. Religion requires no singularities which 
have not in them some moral quality. It is innocently cheerful, though 
grave ; it has a kind and sympathizing heart ; it will have a courteous 
and respectful manner. We are to " please all men ;" only we are to 
remember to do it "for their good to edification." 

The culpable courting of the world's friendship here condemned, 
manifests itself, 

1. In being unwilling to encounter reproach and difficulty for Christ's 
sake. 

A youth is called of God ; a husband, a wife, a child, is made a 
happy partaker of true religion. Such a one ought to use no sinful 
compliances in order to escape reproach, either from near relations, 
or others. 

2. In hiding our opinions, and suffering men to go on in error an,d 
spiritual danger, that we may keep up their society. 

Christians are to be the light of the world ; and ought never to be 
ashamed of the words of their Lord. 

3. In preferring some interest, some honour, to adherence to con- 
science. 

Every thing, even character, property, life itself, is to be given up 
for Christ, and to preserve a conscience void of offence. 

4. In such an obsequiousness to the world's maxims and principles, 
as to lead to, at least, doubtful compliances. 

The world has something to say in defence of most of its evils. It 
has its grave advocates for duelling, for gambling, for the race course, 
and for the theatre ; although all these things are connected with evils 
of the most serious magnitude. And no doubt it has much to plead 
for the approaching festival.* 

Now, when we show a ready leaning to all the sophistry by which 
such practices are defended, there is a sad approach to the friendship 
of the world. Debatable ground ought to be avoided, where sin is 
concerned. 

HI. The aggravation of the crime charged. 

If we would know the nature of an evil, we must look into the word 
of God, who is our Judge. Criminals may jest at frauds and robberies ; 
but what says the law ? — " O house of Israel, come ye, and let us walk 
in the light of the Lord." Here these friendships with the world 
which betray Christ are marked by two opprobrious characters : 

1. Spiritual adultery. 

This implies abnegation of God. The relation in which the Church 
stands to God is often compared to the marriage covenant. Idolatry, 

* This sermon was preached at Oxford-road chapel, Manchester, a short time 
before a splendid musical festival and fancy ball were held in that town. On this 
occasion Mr. Watson felt it to be his duty to lift up his warning voice in the two 
principal chapels of his circuit : and he had the satisfaction to know that his ad- 
monitions were not entirely in vain. See his Life, p. 337. 
0. 



SERMON LXV.] THE FOUNTAIN OPENED. 85 

in the language of Scripture, is adultery. It is a violation of the vow 
and covenant, and is followed by a liability to be put away. The same 
is here declared concerning " the friendship of the world." 

2. Enmity to God. 

How often is the friendship of the world marked by a growing dis- 
like to God's control, and to his people ! The Bible becomes dull ; 
prayer becomes irksome ; and final apostasy is often the sad conse- 
quence of worldly compliances. 

IV. That more excellent way which the apostle's denunciation sug- 
gests. 

He would have us decide. The benefits of decision are numerous 
and great. 

1. It is ordinarily attended with less difficulty than a vacillating and 
hesitating habit. A double-minded man is unstable and unhappy. 

2. It is a noble object to aspire to fidelity to God. " Blessed are 
the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord." This is 
the true dignity of man. 

3. There is an interesting reciprocation. If we are God's people, 
he is our God ; and we have every thing to expect from him. 

4. The real pleasures which decision opens are many and great. It 
forbids no solid pleasures ; it opens religious ones. The conscience is 
at rest ; we have unbounded confidence toward God ; and the uncloud- 
ed prospect of heaven is opened before us. 

5. The comforting sense of acting according to our real circumstan- 
ces, as responsible, dying men, men who are to be judged. 



Sermon LXV. — The Fountain Opened. 



" In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the 
inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness ;" (Margin, " separation for 
uncleanness ;") Zechariah xiii, 1. 

This is a prophecy respecting the Jews. Its fulfilment has never 
yet taken place, and will probably be considerably posterior to our times. 
That it is an unfulfilled, though a glorious prophecy, is plain from the 
latter part of the preceding chapter. The " spirit of grace and of 
supplications shall be poured upon the house of David, and upon the 
inhabitants of Jerusalem ;" « they shall look upon him whom they have 
pierced;" there shall be a universal "mourning." 

But though not fulfilled, as to them ; yet, thank God, to us that 
"fountain" is "opened." 

I. What, then, is this fountain? 

II. What is its efficacy ? 

HI. What is the day, mentioned in the text, in which it is opened? 

I. What is this fountain ? 

The ancient Jews had their sacrifices and purifying oblations. They 
have now been long without a sacrifice and a priesthood. They them- 
selves acknowledge this to be one of their calamities. Their mourn- 
ful sentiments on this subject may be gathered from a part of one of 

2 



86 THE FOUNTAIN OPENEU. [SERMON hXV. 

their prayers, offered yearly on the day which was formerly their great 
day of atonement : " Wo to us ; for we have no mediator '. But then 
we are not to understand that these Levitical fountains will be opened 
again, as some have dreamed ; and the shadows be again set up, after 
the substance is come. No ; " The blood of bulls and of goats could 
never " take away sin." That was reserved for the blood of the great 
atonement, to which they all looked, — the blood of Christ. The only 
efficacy they had is expressed by the apostle, when writing to the 
Hebrews, and he contrasts its feebleness in a manner most interesting 
to us : " For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer 
sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh : how 
much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit 
offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead 
works to serve the living God ?" 

The blood of animals might be an instituted means of taking away 
a ceremonial guilt, which yet left the sinner as he was before, in re- 
gard to the Governor of the world ; but it had no fitness to take away 
moral guilt, because it failed in the two great principles of a true 
atonement, — a manifestation of the evil of sin, and a demonstration 
of God's righteous government. These meet in Christ, as the em- 
phatic terms of the text just quoted show. His was a spotless sacrifice, 
and a sacrifice of infinite value ; for it was the sacrifice of a Divine 
person. 

II. Its efficacy, in the removal of " sin and uncleanness." 

1. "For sin." 

Sin is a "transgression of the law." The law is transgressed three 
ways, — by a violation of its precepts, by a neglect of its injunctions, 
and by a defect in its observance ; bringing all under the terrible pe- 
nalty of death. 

2. "For uncleanness." The marginal reading is, "separation for 
uncleanness." 

There is an allusion here to the Levitical economy. Defiled per- 
sons, who were separated from God in his tabernacle, from the public 
services, from the congregation, who were thrust without, were all 
awfully typical of the manner in which sin separates between the soul 
and God. 

Sinners are separated from the Church ; they are " aliens to the 
commonwealth of" the true "Israel." They are estranged .from its 
solemn services. Their prayers do not rise with the common cloud 
of incense. Sinners are separated from heaven itself. They do not 
join in its songs, though perhaps they may hear the sound of them. 
They do not partake of its glory, though they may see it like a distant 
star. There is a great gulf between them and heaven. By the shed- 
ding of the blood of Christ, ye who were once afar off from God are 
brought nigh to him ; nor is there any other means of reconciliation. 

We proceed to consider, 

III. The day, mentioned in the text, in which this fountain is opened. 

1. The day of all others to us the most sacred, solemn, and joyful, 
is the day of our Lord's crucifixion. 

Before I show how the fountain was opened then, it may be proper 
to remark that blood and water were instruments of purification under 
the law. This showed that man needs pardon and sanctity. Both of 
2 



SERMON LXVI.] POWER FROM ON HIGH. 87 

these must be obtained. One without the other would not meet our 
case. On the cross this was exhibited. The fountain of blood and 
of water was opened at the same moment, and from the same source. 
St. John saw the soldier pierce our Lord's side ; and was so impressed 
with the fact, that forthwith there came out blood and water, that he 
records it with particular solemnity, and refers to it in his epistles : 
" This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ ; not by 
water only, but by water and blood." And he is more remarkable 
than any of the apostles for uniting the cleansing with the atoning 
character, when speaking of Christ's sacrifice. Thus, brethren, we 
have the fountain opened, and provision made, at once, for our pardon 
and sanctity. You cannot partake of the one without the other. Those 
whom the Lord justifies he also sanctifies to himself. Thank God, 
both these blessings are attainable by us. 

2. The fountain is opened in the day when the Gospel is first preached 
in any heathen land. 

What an interesting motive to missionary exertions ! There is 
blood enough among the heathen ; but not that which takes away sin. 
There are many reputed sacred rivers and fountains; but sin still 
cleaves to the people. The day when a missionary first proclaims, " Be- 
hold the Lamb of God," is a day to be distinguished for ever in their 
future chronology. The true fountain is then opened to the people. 

3. In the day specially referred to in the text. When the " Spirit 
of grace and of supplications" shall be " poured" out on all the Jews, 
and, it would seem, suddenly ; when they " shall look upon Him whom 
they have pierced ;" when the great penitential " mourning" shall take 
place ; then shall the fountain be opened ; and " all Israel shall be 
saved." glorious day ! What an impression will be made by it upon 
the world at large ! 

4. Whenever a penitent mourns ; whenever the Spirit of grace, of 
softening influence, of prayer, is given ; whenever the cry arises, " What 
must I do to be saved?" and deep mourning appears; then the foun- 
tain is specially opened. It is set before you. You are invited to it, 
and may now be cleansed from all sin. 

5. In every means of grace ; that pardon may be repeated, and our 
sinful nature cleansed. We need never attend any of the ordinances 
of religious worship without receiving a renewed application of the 
blood of Christ, and a fresh communication of sanctifying grace. 



Sermon LXVI. — Power from on High. 

i,- "u B „ Ut T ta f ry y6 - in A he city of Jerusalem > until ye be endued with power from on 
high," Luke xxiv, 49 r 

These words were addressed by our Lord to the eleven apostles, 
and those that were with them, when he was about to leave them ; but 
as he had always promised the Spirit, that is, in a richer effusion than 
had marked any former dispensation, so now he renews the promise, 
and bids them wait at Jerusalem « for the promise of the Father ;" a 
phrase which explains the text, "power from on high." They did wait 

2 



88 POWER FROM ON HIGH. fsERMON LXVI. 

as all must wait, for this heavenly gift ; they "continued in prayer ;" 
they were in the temple " praising and blessing God ; and " when 
the day of pentecost was fully come," the gift, the great and illustri- 
ous gift, was bestowed. As then, at this season, between the resur. 
rection and ascension, the disciples were revolving this promise in 
their minds, and waiting for its accomplishment, we may probably 
direct our attention to its import ; that, entering into its nature, we 
may be influenced to seek the same gift which, in his ordinary opera, 
tions, is promised to us. To the expressive language of the text, I 
then call your attention. The Holy Spirit is the " power from on 
high," bestowed by God on man. 

I propose to illustrate this description of the blessed Spirit, 

I. By the extraordinary effects produced upon the apostles. 

II. By the ordinary influence exerted on them, and on all true 
Christians. 

I. I call your attention to the extraordinary operations of the Spirit, 
not only because of their use in exhibiting the evidence on which 
Christianity rests ; but also because I think it very probable that the 
work of the Spirit was made so strikingly visible, that we might be 
more impressed with a sense of his mighty efficacy upon the heart, in 
his more secret workings, and expect the more in our ordinary expe- 
rience from his gracious influence. 

Consider, then, in these extraordinary gifts which were only in- 
tended for the time, how mightily God wrought in man. 

1. Take the gift of tongues. 

He who knows the difficulty of acquiring a foreign language will 
perceive how unequivocal a miracle was an infusion of words into the 
memory, with their meanings and relations, and with that facility of 
applying them, which instant and rapid' speech required. This gift 
the Spirit imparted to the apostles. 

2. Mark the illumination of the mind with the full truth. 

The apostles had heard Christ. They had reasoned among them- 
selves. The sun had flamed upon the mists of their prejudices ; there 
had sometimes been a flash of light ; and then obscurity had followed. 
Now all was explained. The harmony of the law and the Gospel, the 
mystery of faith, were opened to themselves, and to all by them. Here 
was another miracle. 

3. Mark the power with which they spake. 

All was light, all feeling. Yes, there was a rush of accompanying 
energy, the " demonstration of the Spirit," such as accompanied not 
even the words of Christ. As to those who were not obstinately blind, 
" they were pricked in their heart." As to others, they could not re- 
sist ; but when Stephen spoke, the very gnashing of their teeth showed 
that the unwelcome light had penetrated their dark spirits, and that 
they hated the light, and hated the man. But they would have hated 
neither, had they not felt that the light was light from heaven, and the 
man a man of God. 

4. Mark their miracles of healing. 

"All the works of Christ" they did, " and greater," that is, more in 
number ; for greater in kind they could not be : " Because," said he, 
" I go unto my Father," and send the Spirit. They were men, inferior 
to Christ, who was God-man ; yet they performed the very works of 



SERMON LXVI.] POWER FROM ON HIGH. 89 

Divinity, because they were " endued with power from on high." The 
sick were healed. Virtue issued from Peter, as from his Master's gar- 
ments. The dead were raised. Demons were ejected. 

5. Note their discernment of spirits, as in the eases of Ananias and 
Simon Magus. 

The heart was opened to their eyes, not always, perhaps, but on fit 
occasions ; and man, by the " power from on high," was endued with 
an attribute of God, to search the heart. 

6. Finally, take their courage. 

There was courage in all ; some of whom were naturally timid ; the 
courage, not of excitement merely, but of a calm, deliberate surrender 
of themselves to shame, suffering, death : not under the eye of an ap- 
plauding nation, but often alone, unbefriended. " At my first answer," 
says St. Paul, " no man stood with me, but all men forsook me." 
Theirs was a courage which shrunk not in the hour of trial. There 
was not one apostate among them after the " power from on high" 
descended. 

While we see in all these circumstances a demonstration of the 
truth of the apostles' mission, we see also what God can make man, 
when he vouchsafes to him the gift of his Spirit. But we are to illus- 
trate the phrase in the text, 

II. By the ordinary influences exerted on the apostles, and on all 
true Christians. 

The gift of the Spirit is still " power from on high." True it is that 
the gifts just mentioned were extraordinary. They answered their end ; 
they made the glory of God visible to all. When they had done this, 
— when attention was roused, and Christianity could appeal to these 
demonstrations as matters of historical fact, — the work was left to be 
carried on by more secret and invisible influences. So when the cloud 
of glory descended on the temple, " the priests could not stand to 
minister, because of the cloud." Yet God was no less the mighty God 
of Israel, when invisible. The Spirit is now in the Church, working 
all in all. We have, indeed, been told that, the extraordinary gifts be- 
ing no longer dispensed, the direct influence of the Holy Spirit was 
resumed. Let me refute this. It confounds two things, extraordinary 
and ordinary gifts. One did not necessarily imply the other. All 
who received the Holy Ghost, as a Teacher and Comforter, did not 
work miracles ; and some who had gifts, had not renewing grace. 
Again : If the apostles needed the direct influence of the Holy Spirit 
to make them Christians, so do we. We are called to imitate them ; 
but how can we do it, if we have not the same help ? Again : We are 
called to be all that the Gospel requires. Now, either we can attain 
this without the Spirit, or we cannot. If we can, man can be saved 
without God : if we cannot, the Gospel is no longer " the power of 
God unto salvation ;" " the glory is departed." But all this objection 
is dispersed by the words of Christ : " I will pray the Father, and he 
shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." 
"And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." 
Thank God, if we wait, we too shall be " endued with power from on 
high." Let us, then, consider how this power manifests itself. And 
here, too, we shall see a mighty working of God in man, not inferior 
in real glory, and superior in grace, to those extraordinary illapses. 

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90 POWEK FROM ON HIGH. [sEKMON LXVI. 

This is displayed, 

1. In the awakening of the soul of man from its deep and deadly 
sleep of sin. 

Who knows not that there are two states of mind, with reference to 
eternal things ? The one is marked by unconcern and neglect. The 
sinner has no sense of danger, though on its very brink ; no abhor, 
rence of sin, though leprous with it ; no sense of slavery, though actu- 
ally bound ; no shame and humiliation before God, though an ungrateful 
forgetfulness and rebellion mark his life. What, then, if this sleep is 
broken ? if the ear listens at last to the reproving, alarming voice ? if 
the danger becomes visible ? if fears are fully roused ? if the heart 
breaks under a sense of its ingratitude ? if a deep and habitual regard 
to the soul's interest, and to eternal things, takes full possession of the 
feelings ? What change at the pentecost was greater than this ? What 
is its source? Does man awaken himself? Does he pierce his own 
conscience ? Does he render himself miserable and wretched ? The 
thing is impossible and contradictory. It is the " power from on high" 
that produces this. And, O ! if by this I can obtain a soft and tender 
heart ; if I can be kept in humiliation before God, always awake to 
spiritual dangers, that I may be impelled to the refuge of the atone- 
ment, always living for eternity ; then let me bless God, who gives 
this power to man ; and let me wait, in all the earnestness of prayer, 
until I am endued with it. 

2. Our subject is illustrated by the office of the Spirit as the Com- 
forter. 

Here, also, are two states of mind ; one of fear and alarm ; the other 
of faith, and a joyful sense of reconciliation with God. Here is a 
change as marked, as miraculous, as the other. Here, too, is the 
" power from on high." And if this be the result ; if for these doubts, 
I may receive assurance ; if for this dread of God, I may receive the 
Spirit of adoption ; then let me wait till I am endowed with this hea- 
venly gift, the Spirit who cries in every believing heart, " Abba Father." 

3. We have another instance in the office of the Spirit as the Holy 
Ghost the Sanctifier. 

There is not a sin from which we may not cease. But this power 
is not of man ; it is the " power from on high," destroying the love 
of sin, breaking its power, and so filling the soul with the fear and love 
of God, that the dart of temptation falls blunted and broken, and the 
ennobled and freed spirit cries, "Thanks be to God, which giveth us 
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 

4. Take a final instance from the fruits of the Spirit. 

Mark the enumeration of them : "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, 
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." Now, when 
these are called the fruits of the Spirit, the expression intimates that 
they are not of man. Of these fruits the human heart is naturally as 
barren as the waste is of "corn, and wine, and oil." Even what ap- 
proaches nearest to them is utterly different. Natural good temper is 
not "love" to God ; cheerfulness of spirit is not "joy" in the Lord ; 
tranquility is not " the peace of God, which passeth all understanding." 
But let the contrast be as complete as possible : let the heart be hating 
and malignant ; here "love" shall grow : let it be gloomy and dark ; 
here "joy" shall spring up: let it be turbulent and restless: here 
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SERMON LXVH.] RESULTS OF MESSIAH'S DEATH. 91 

« peace" shall establish her dominion. All this is miracle, too : it is 
" power from on high." 

I apply this subject to your edification, by observing, 

1. That there is a power promised to you more glorious than all the 
endowments of apostolic gifts. " Though I speak with the tongues 
of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding 
brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, 
and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge ; and though I have 
all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am 

nothing." 

2. Fix the greatness of the blessing before you. The baptism ot 
secret fire is invisible to the eye ; but it works powerfully and con- 
stantly, softening the heart, kindling joy, diffusing purity, giving en- 
ergy in duty, carrying you up in devout thoughts to heaven. If you 
seek it, all this is yours. 

3. Do you ask how you are to attain it ? See your example in the 
apostles. Believe your Lord: "I send the promise of my Father 
upon you." Wait for this, not idly, but in prayer, in the public 
means"; for they " were continually in the temple, praising and bless- 
ing God." 

4. Know, that " if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none 
of his." Aspire, then, to this. 

5. Ask the effusion of the Spirit upon your friends, the whole Church, 
and the world. Even that shall come. 



Sermon LXVII. — The Results of Messiah's Death. 



" Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to 
finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation 
for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision 
and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy," Daniel ix, 24. 

In this chapter we have a fine picture of a true patriot. Daniel felt 
the weight of calamity under which his countrymen groaned, and sought 
to remove it. Observe the method he took. He "set his face unto 
the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and 
sackcloth, and ashes : and he prayed unto the Lord his God, confess- 
ing his sin, and the sin of Israel." And how prevalent is prayer! 
An angel was " caused to fly swiftly," that so he might " understand 
the matter." 

The prophecy with which he was favoured was suited to the state 
of his mind. His anxiety about his city and people was not produced 
merely by feelings of patriotism, but was connected with his views of 
Messiah and salvation. As Jacob had said, " I have waited for thy 
salvation, O Lord !" so Daniel had his holy musings, his ardent as- 
pirations, on this all-important subject. The angel meets this inquiry 
of that salvation which the future was more fully to unfold, first of all, 
though he had much to communicate as to the Jews themselves. 

The clauses of so eminent a prophecy must necessarily have each a 
distinct and emphatic meaning ; and to them, in their order, our at- 

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92 RESULTS OF MESSIAH'S DEATH. [sEKMON LXVII. 

tention will be directed. We may, however, previously remark, that 
this is a very important distinction between the predictions of Daniel, 
and those of other prophets, that in them the times and seasons are 
more distinctly specified. Of that contained in the text there has been 
the most exact accomplishment. After these seventy weeks of years, 
the Messiah did appear, and all the glorious subjects contained in the 
prophecy were realized. The Messiah was cut off, but not for him- 
self, not for sins of his own. The benefit of his death was to descend 
to others, even to the race of mankind. It was for us that this grand 
epoch was fixed ; the most illustrious in the annals of time ; to be re- 
membered when all others are forgotten. 

I. The first of the results of Messiah's coming and death here enu- 
merated is, " to finish the transgression." 

The word " finish," here used, signifies to cancel, to annihilate ; de- 
stroying or removing the effects of any thing. " Transgression" is in 
the singular number ; and the reference plainly appears to be to the 
first, the original transgression ; that offence of one by which sin and 
death came into our world, and spread their malignant ravages through 
our whole race. And were the effects of this transgression, so deep, 
so wide, so fatal, to be cancelled ? They were. Such was the design 
of God. They are cancelled. Such is the effect of the death of Christ. 
The sin of Adam averted from mankind the eye of God's complacency ; 
the death of Christ turns it upon us, beaming with compassion. The 
transgression of one broke the vital connection of the soul with God ; 
and the Divine life, the very principle of holiness, was extinguished. 
The Messiah restores it, and makes a creature, of himself only capa- 
ble of sin, capable of all holiness. The transgression extinguished 
the light of that bright and accurate moral knowledge which was in 
the first man, and now the human spirit wanders in error and gloom. 
The Messiah comes, and cries, " I am the light of the world ; he that 
followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." 
The transgression destroyed the devotional intercourse of man with 
God, silenced the hymns of paradise, sealed up the lips which had 
poured forth the prayers of filial confidence, and made mankind prayer- 
less, thankless, and godless. Through Messiah, there is the overture 
of restored communion, and, with it, of the strength, the felicity, and 
the glory of man. God cries to every one of us, " Return unto me, 
and [ will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts." By the trans- 
gression disease and affliction were brought in. Christ takes away 
their punitive character, converts them into salutary discipline, and 
will finally remove them. And by the transgression came death, that 
all-comprehending evil. But as by one came death, by one comes also 
the resurrection of the dead. Over no particle of mortal dust shall 
death finally triumph. Thus, to every believer, shall the transgression 
be completely finished, and all its effects, both in soul and body, fully 
and for ever cancelled. 

II. The second result to be accomplished by the death of Messiah 
was, " to make an end of sins." 

As " transgression" is in the singular, so " sins" is plural ; noting to 

us the effect of the one transgression in a multitude of sins. An awful 

picture is here brought before us. Who shall cast up this mighty 

amount of ingratitude, rebellion, and mischief? How various are the 

2 



SERMON LXVII.] RESULTS OF MESSIAH'S DEATH. 93 

sins of the heart ! And how copiously, how constantly, do the streams 
flow from that fountain, issuing both in words and actions ! They 
sink into the depths of society ; they ascend to its loftiest heights. 
It is by this multitude of sins that wars are kindled, and the fetters of 
oppression riveted. They blast and wither the fairest portions of the 
earth. They invade the Church itself, darken its bright and glorious 
truths, pollute its primitive purity, and make the house of God a tem- 
ple of demons, and a den of thieves. 

But the Messiah came " to make an end of sins." O what a cheer- 
ing sound is that ! Nor is it a delusion. The process is certain, and, 
as might be expected, peculiar. The methods on which the wisdom 
of the world depends have no place here. The mighty work is not to 
be achieved by cold reason, demonstrating the evils of moral slavery, 
and leaving its votaries slaves still ; not by the tongue of the rhetori- 
cian, descanting on the beauties of virtue, in the vain hope of curing 
a disease by rounding eloquent periods on the excellencies of health ; 
not by the application of legislative authority, restraining a few out- 
ward acts, and leaving the evil within too deep to be reached by hu- 
man law ; not by the half-reproving voice of Eli, " Why do ye such 
things 1 Nay, my sons, for it is no good report that I hear ;" not even 
by the terrors of a Divine law, making Israel afraid one hour, while 
the next they dance about the golden calf, furnishing a striking com- 
ment on the text, " For what the law could not do, in that it was weak 
through the flesh." Not thus is there an end to be made of sins. All 
comes from Messiah's death. By the ransom price which he has paid, 
he has brought the race into his mercy, and sends down the Spirit to 
convince of sin, to reprove the conscience, and make the burden of 
transgression felt, to excite prayers for deliverance, and then to admi- 
nister it, delivering the groaning creature out of the bondage of cor- 
ruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Yes ; an end 
of sins. When we are " in Him that is true," there is an end of their 
power. They are no longer the objects of desire and love, but of ha- 
tred and abhorrence. We then renounce them utterly, presenting 
ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. By the power of his sanctify, 
ing grace he shall make a full end of sins, preserving our whole spirit, 
and soul, and body blameless. And when we enter that bright world 
to which he is conducting us, there shall be an end of sins for ever. 
And the process shall go on triumphantly even in the present world. 
He who saves an individual can save society ; and thus shall he go 
on, conquering and to conquer, till righteousness shall spring up out 
of the earth, and truth look down from heaven, and all flesh together 
behold the glory of the Lord. 

III. But we are conducted, thirdly, to that from which all these 
blessings flow, even to the grand atonement. The Messiah was " to 
make reconciliation for iniquity." 

The word translated " reconciliation" signifies " to cover," " to hide ;" 
and thus gives us the true idea of atonement. That does not, cannot, 
make sin not to be. There it is. Man is a sinner ; and the fact can 
neither be denied nor altered. Sin exists ; and, as a Judge, God must 
look at it, must animadvert upon it, must judge it. Had no atonement 
been made, sin would have continued spread before the face of al- 
mighty God, the righteous, the holy Judge ; and mankind would have 

2 



94 RESULTS OF MESSIAH'S DEATH. [SERMON LXVII. 

stood unsheltered, and exposed to his just and fearful displeasure. And 
such is, in point of fact, the condition of all who will not avail them- 
selves of that " reconciliation for iniquity," which the Messiah made 
when he was " cut off, not for himself, but for the sins of the people." 
O think of this. God's eye is upon your sins to number them, and 
bring them forth to judgment. He says, " I will reprove thee, and 
set them in order before thine eyes." He sees them, in order duly to 
apportion their punishment. So the apostle speaks of " tribulation 
and anguish" coming " upon every soul of man that doeth evil, upon 
the Jew first, and also upon the Gentile." How fearful a condition ! 
Every thing in justice proceeds with exactness ; and this just and 
holy Judge " has set our iniquities before him, our secret sins in the 
light of his countenance." See, then, the effect of atonement. The 
Messiah dies for sin, he bears the penalty, gives death for death, makes 
the satisfaction required ; and thus we see that " God was in Christ, 
reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing to them their tres- 
passes." As to all them that truly believe in Christ, sin is covered. 
God, as Judge, sees it not in order to animadversion and punishment. 
Behold in this an exposition of many important passages of Scripture : 
" Blessed is he whose sin is covered, to whom the Lord imputeth not 
iniquity ;" to whom, in its penal consequences, he reckons it not. — 
" Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." They shall 
be as though bound to a stone, thrown into the deep, and so covered 
by the veil of the profound waters. " I, even I, am he that blotteth 
out thy transgressions," so that they no longer appear in the record 
against us ; " and will not remember thy sins," which thus become, in 
effect, as though they had not been. " I have blotted out as a thick 
cloud thy transgressions." As the dense and dark cloud, which casts 
its deep and chilling shadow on the earth, is melted and dispersed, 
and there is the clear shining of the sun, so does God remove our sins, 
so lift upon us the light of his countenance. Believing with the heart 
unto righteousness, fixing our trust on the great atonement, he will 
"cast all our sins behind his back." He will not take them into the 
account ; in his gracious dealings with us, he treats us as though we 
had not sinned; we become "the children of God by faith in Christ 
Jesus," and he rejoices over us to do us good. 

IV "And to bring in everlasting righteousness." 

I take this to be a description of the Gospel dispensation. To the 
Jews it had been said, " And it shall be our righteousness, if we ob- 
serve to do all these commandments before the Lord our God." And 
even in reference to the brief dispensation of John, our Lord said, when 
he went to his baptism, " Suffer it to be so now ; for thus it becometh 
us to fulfil all righteousness." In this view of the subject two ideas 
are contained. 

1. In the Gospel are presented to us the means of becoming right- 
eous before God. 

Substantially, the same means had existed before ; but they were 
presented chiefly in type, and shadowy representation. Abel's sacri- 
fice really referred to Christ. Abraham saw his day, as in the ob- 
scurity of distance, afar off. The Jews had their various ceremonies, 
the shadows of good things to come. All these were temporary, be- 
cause only introductory and typical. But now we are called to " behold 
2 



SERMON LXVIII.] THE CRUCIFIXION. 95 

the Lamb of God, which," not figuratively, but really, " taketh away 
the sin of the world." The rule, to the very end of time, is, " Whoso- 
ever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." This 
is now in force. Art thou burdened in spirit ? Receive the clear tes- 
timony concerning the Saviour. The Son of man is lifted up for thy 
health and cure. Look to him, and thou shalt live. In the Gospel 
" is the righteousness of God revealed." 

2. We see the full perfection of the Gospel. 

By no other dispensation is it to be succeeded ; no future revelation 
is to be expected, no higher means looked for. And for this reason, 
that nothing more is needed. God has given us his Son, his Spirit, 
his holy word. The perfect means of making you righteous before 
God, and in yourselves, are afforded. We receive, therefore, the king- 
dom which cannot be moved. " Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, 
redemption," all are brought in by Christ, and through him we may 
claim and enjoy the whole. 

V " To seal up the vision and prophecy." 

Either, 1. To terminate it in the Jewish Church. It is a remark- 
able fact, that after Messiah came they had no vision. .None of their 
eminent rabbies were prophets. Or, 2. To accomplish it. And in 
fulfilment of prophecy we have a glorious evidence of the truth of 
Christianity. Look at the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, and see its 
wonderful accomplishment in the person, sufferings, and glory of 
Christ. 

VI. " To anoint the most holy." Literally, the holy of holies ; the 
sacred body of our Lord, in which dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead. 

The ancient tabernacle was a type of this. As in that tent God 
dwelt, so when " the Word was made flesh," his tent, his tabernacle, 
was pitched among us. He is anointed, consecrated, and set apart, 
as our Teacher, our Priest, our Sovereign. In all these characters 
we are to trust in him. As a Teacher, he is infallible. As a Priest, 
having atoned for sin, he pleads for us in the heavenly sanctuary. As 
our Sovereign, he rules by his holy laws, and in the exercise of his be- 
nevolence and wisdom. 



Sermon LXVIII. — The Crucifixion. 



" Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying:, Cer- 
tainly this was a righteous man. And all the people that came together to that 
sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned," 
Luke xxiii, 47, 48. 

" Gon forbid that I should glory," says St. Paul, " save in the cross 
of our Lord Jesus Christ." He had reason for this. He referred, 
first, to the moral effects of the cross ; then to the doctrines from 
which those effects flowed. And he might refer to the events of the 
crucifixion itself, so full of instruction, so glorious to the Saviour, even 
in his suffering, and so truly the glorying of his disciples. 

The text I have read carries us to this scene. We often go thither. 
Our only hope is there. We think of the love, the suffering, and the 

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96 THE CRUCIFIXION. [sEBMON LXVIII. 

result of all in the atonement, and its spiritual benefits. Thus we " live 
by faith;" and these subjects shall ever feed that faith, that life, till 
we fell at our Saviour's feet in heaven, and begin the eternal song, 
" Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and 
wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." Yet, as 
the disciples were invited to " see the place where the Lord lay ;" to 
mark every circumstance, the " stone rolled away," and the " grave 
clothes folded up ;" so we may say, " Come see the place where the 
Lord died." The scene is crowded. That "sight," so emphatically 
mentioned in the text, is such as never was seen before, and never will 
foe seen again. And the circumstances are all of a nature as peculiar 
as the event which gave rise to them. The work now before our Lord 
was a work of suffering and dying ; but not merely so. Were we to 
confine ourselves to these, we should approach the immolation of an 
illustrious martyr ; but nothing more. But this great event rises be- 
fore us under higher aspects. The grand atonement was now to be 
offered ; and he who was to offer it was mysteriously both priest and 
sacrifice. The High Priest, high beyond all others, was now to enter 
into his office ; and the oblation was to be worthy of the priesthood, 
the offerer, and the consequences which should follow. He was him- 
self such a being as never appeared on earth before ; such as earth shall 
never see again, until he shall come to judge all her kindreds. 

The grand offices of Christ are three, — prophetical, priestly, and king. 
ly ; and his entrance upon them all was marked with circumstances at 
once singular and sublime ; and all attest that with these offices he was 
invested by the Father. The prophetic office was confirmed by a series 
of miracles, and crowned with that of the transfiguration. The regal 
office was established by the glories of the resurrection and ascension, 
and by the effusion of the Spirit ; and all these testified the greatness 
of his power and dominion. And has his entrance on the great office 
of his priesthood no peculiar demonstrations, no circumstances to 
mark the grandeur of its character, and to appear as the confirmation 
of God? My brethren, the short history of our Lord's passion is 
crowded with them ; and to bring some of them at least before you, 
that your meditations at this season may be assisted, is my present 
purpose. May we rightly read the characters impressed on these seals, 
which authenticate the appointed one and eternal sacrifice ; and may 
the impression be transferred to our hearts and hopes ! 

I. The first circumstance is, the testimony which the last scenes of 
our Lord's passion afford to his entire innocency. 

This is all-important. A sinless person only could be a substitute 
for the sinful ; or, if the highest created nature, he must himself be- 
come liable to penalty. All the representations of the Old Testament 
were indicative of this. He is called the " Seed of the woman," not 
of the man ; that by a peculiar birth he might escape the common con- 
tagion of sin. The typical animals were free from spot. Like these 
animals, he was to be judicially stricken ; but not for his own sins. " He 
was wounded for our transgressions," says Isaiah. And when he came 
into the world, this was the testimony of the angel, " That holy thing 
which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Thus 
he only became " sin," a sin-offering, " for us, who knew no sin," to 
whom the very principle of sin was unknown. Now, that this was 
2 



SERMON LXVIII.] THE CRUCIFIXION. 97 

the fact, the perfectly blameless life of Jesus is the striking proof. — 
Here is not even a failing to excuse, much less a sin to palliate. He 
was watched with jealousy, living in the public eye, or always sur- 
rounded with disciples, who were to hazard their all upon this, that he 
was the Holy, the Anointed, the Messiah. What comes out upon his 
trial 1 for tried he was, as a malefactor. He is condemned for assert- 
ing that he was what he was in truth, the Son of God. Pilate " took 
water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am inno- 
cent of the blood of this just person." Herod, though he derides him, 
rinds no criminal charge against him. The daughters of Jerusalem 
weep for him, in remembrance of all those benevolent works which he 
had performed among them. The very multitude " smote their breasts 
and returned," as feeling that the guilt was theirs, not his. The re- 
putable Joseph of Arimathea begged his body for honourable burial. 
The no less respectable women who had followed him, and knew his 
private walk among his disciples, with a faith which could not be 
shaken, and a love which could not be quenched, take spices to embalm 
him. And the very inscription on his cross, answering to the scroll 
which was hung over the head of all crucified persons, proclaiming 
their offences, and which, in his case, was openly emblazoned in three 
several tongues, was not a charge of crime, but a publication of his 
official rights and majesty : " This is Jesus, the King of the Jews. " 
Thus were our sins washed away by untainted blood. He died, " the 
just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." 

II. We see in the circumstances of the death of our Lord, a marked 
and eminent fulfilment of prophecy and prophetic types. 

If the hope of man was directed to a Deliverer, it was natural to 
conclude, that some eminent marks should be afforded, by which he 
might be known. Such was one great intent of prophecy and type ; 
they were portraits of his character, indications of his conduct, prefigu- 
rations of the circumstances by which his advent might be ascertained. 
The very number and variety of such predictions and prefigured cir- 
cumstances rendered it impossible for this person to be mistaken. He 
must answer to them all, as "face answers to face in a glass." One 
real, substantiated discrepancy would be fatal to his claims. It will be 
equally clear to you, that in proportion as these ancient prophecies and 
types were particular, and related to circumstances over which no in- 
dividual could have control, would be the impossibility either of decep- 
tion on the one part, or of fanciful application on the other. This will 
show us the reason and the wisdom of the several instances of the 
striking accomplishment of minute predictions and tvpes at the cruci- 
fixion of Jesus. For if all, great and minute, were fulfilled in him, 
then is he that Redeemer to whom all the prophets gave witness. 
Already had prophecies, some of a large and general meaning, others 
of tins more minute character, been fulfilled in him ; such as his being 
born of a virgin, his appearing before the sceptre had departed from 
Judah, his birth at the time fixed by the prophetic weeks of Daniel, in 
Bethlehem, of the house of David, his being filled with the Spirit, en- 
dowed with miraculous powers, and many others, all characters of the 
Messiahship, which were seen in none but in him. But now look at 
the irresistible strength of the evidence flowing from the minuter pro- 
phecies and circumstances of types. These are so minute, so appa- 

Vol. II. 7 



98 THE CUVCIi-IKloy. [SEEMON LXVIII. 

rently incidental, so out of the reach of all conjecture, so far beyond 
all anticipation, that if they were fulfilled in Jesus, the conclusion is 
inevitable, that they were uttered by Him who only sees the future ; 
and they thus attest that Jesus was " the Lamb slain," in the intention 
of God, " from the foundation of the world." Shall I take that ancient 
type of the great redemption, the passover, which was understood so to 
be by the spiritual Jews themselves ? Of the passover, not a bone was 
to be broken. This circumstance is not to be explained, but as typical. 
See it verified in our Lord. Water and blood were the instruments of 
purification under the law. Out of his side flowed the double stream 
of water and blood. This was not natural ; it was evidently preter- 
natural, to mark the true oblation, and to show that the atonement and 
washing away of sin were by him. Let us turn to a prophetic psalm : 
"They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." 
Nothing could possibly be more out of the reach of conjecture ; yet see 
the Roman soldiers, at the foot of the cross, unconsciously giving their 
testimony to Jesus. Let us take the celebrated fifty-third chapter of 
Isaiah, which the ancient Jews as well as Christians acknowledged to 
be a prediction of the Messiah : " As a sheep before her shearers is 
dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." So Jesus was before the bar of 
Pilate. Not to multiply instances, it is said that he should be " with 
the rich in his death." How unlikely ! Yet " a rich man of Arimathea, 
named Joseph, laid his body in his own new tomb." 

Now, these are not curious coincidences. Remember the grand 
purpose. Why all these types and prophecies ? We admire their 
grandeur ; we are dazzled with their splendour ; but whether they 
shine as a blaze of broad refulgent light, opening the scenes of future 
salvation to the eye of patriarchs, lawgivers, prophets, priests, kings ; 
or whether they are fainter lines of prophetic revelation, they all verge 
toward one point : the focus in which they meet is the person and cross 
of Christ. They irradiate, as with a crown of glory, the head which 
Avas bound with thorns ; they descend upon the sacrifice, to demon- 
strate that it is both Divine and divinely appointed ; and they bid us 
" behold," with assured trust, " the Lamb of God, which taketh away 
the sin of the world," — the one universal atonement. 

III. Another circumstance among the attestations given to the 
priestly office of our Lord at his crucifixion, was, that its efficacy was 
shown to consist in the giving of spiritual and eternal life to guilty 
man. 

Other benefits resulted from it. It attested his doctrine. It esta- 
blished his religion. It secured the restoration of bodily immortality 
to man. But its highest character was, the gift of spiritual life to souls 
dead in sin, and of eternal life to souls liable to eternal death. If you 
ask, What circumstances displayed this ? I point you to the penitent 
malefactor, who was crucified with him. If you look at this singular 
and affecting event merely a3 an instance of a penitent sinner's finding 
mercy in his last moments, I grant that you fix upon an interesting 
example of the infinite compassion of God. But you take in only a 
part of the truth. He might have found that mercy under other circum- 
stances. Why did he find it on the cross? Why was it administered 
by one dying the same shameful death as himself? There were great 
reasons for this ; and they are not hidden from us. Think of the case. 
2 



BEKMON LXVIII.] THE CRUCIFIXION. 99 

Whatever he might have been, he came to his punishment in a very 
different state of mind from that of the other malefactor. Nothing is 
more clear than that either he was the subject of a previous work of 
God in his heart, during his imprisonment, or that he became a subject 
of it very suddenly, and soon after he was nailed to the cross. One 
malefactor reviles our Lord, hoping, perhaps, to obtain favour from his 
enemies, and to be taken down from the cross. In the other, there 
is a meek and subdued spirit. He asks, " Dost not thou fear God T" 
acknowledge thy sin, and fear to offend by reviling the innocent. He 
acknowledges the justice of his sentence: "We suffer justly." He 
strangely regards Christ under a light more strong than his own dis- 
ciples had done, as a spiritual Saviour. He is not stumbled by his 
humiliation or dying ; he recognizes him as a spiritual King, and as 
having a spiritual kingdom, a heavenly kingdom, into which lie was 
about to enter, and the rewards of which he was about to bestow. He 
is concerned for his honour, and for his own salvation. What could 
produce this, but a wondrous work of grace within ? Docs it not oblige 
us to exclaim, " Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but the 
Father which is in heaven ?" It was the Father who had revealed it 
by the Spirit. He was an illustration of our Lord's own words, " Every 
man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometli 
unto me;" and "him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." 
Thus prepared of the Father by true penitence, and a mighty faith, he 
was at this very moment given to Christ, that the spiritual, saving, 
pardoning, glorifying virtue of the sacrifice he was offering might be 
publicly set forth, and manifested to all future ages. " Lord," says he, 
" remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom ;" and the gracious 
reply is, "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise." O beautiful 
and rich example of the efficacy of the true sacrifice to take away sin, 
all sin ! Now learn from the cross that, whoever thou art, if broken 
in spirit, humbled, acknowledging a rejected Christ, flying to him, thou 
sayest, "Lord, remember me!" thou shalt have a gracious answer; 
thou too shalt be with him in paradise. His blood cleanseth from all 
sin. 

IV The external prodigies which took place were also most im- 
pressive attestations to the priesthood of Christ. 

They were such that all trembled with awe, or were overwhelmed 
with dread ; except the chief priests, who were given up to the hard- 
ness of their own hearts. Even the centurion, " when he saw what 
was done, glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man." 

That the prodigies were supernatural, is sufficiently manifest. Had 
it been the sun darkened only, or an earthquake only, these might have 
been thought coincidences, singular, it is true, yet accidental. But the 
dead rise to life ; and the veil of the temple is rent from top to bottom. 
Taken together, therefore, it is manifest that there was an interposition 
of God himself; and if so, it was to declare his acceptance of the grand 
oblation. New and visible seals were set upon its value, and upon the 
authority of our Lord's priesthood ; and those who had asked a " sign 
from heaven " now had signs both from heaven and earth, and even 
from the recesses of their sacred temple. 

That they were all symbolical, as well as attesting, is probable, be- 
cause we know that two of them were so. The temporary obscuration 

2 



100 THE CRUCIFIXION. [SERMON LXVIII. 

of the sun might indicate that, though the original splendour of the Son 
of God had been hidden under the deep cloud of his sufferings, yet he 
should burst forth again, in all the glories of his character and offices, 
in the courts of heaven, into which he was about to enter ; and the 
earthquake might indicate those mighty revolutions which take place 
in society, wherever the cross of Christ is planted, which never fails, 
sooner or later, to shake down every form of superstition and power 
opposed to it. As, however, the precise import of these two prodigies 
is not stated, I do not dwell upon them ; but of the two others the im. 
port is fixed by allusions in other passages of Scripture ; and they both 
bear directly upon the priesthood of Christ, the sacrificial branch of 
which he was at that moment accomplishing. 

Why was the veil rent ? The apostle answers, To open the new and 
living way to God. 

It was " new ;" therefore it abolished the old, brought the sacrificial 
system to an end, desecrated all that was holy before, turned attention 
and faith from all offerings but Christ's ; from the priests, who had in- 
firmity, to him alone ; and it made the way common to all people. 

It was " living ;" the way of life, the safe way by which we may go 
to God, the invisible, heart-searching, holy God, and may, " come even 
to his seat." 

And it is the way to the holiest places above. Christ is our Fore- 
runner. Such was the virtue of this sacrifice, that, to all nations, the 
way is now open to God ; and death is such a change, that, when the 
believer yields up his spirit, it stands at once in the holy places above, 
the holy of holies, the heaven of heavens. 

Why were the dead raised ? Many curious questions might be ask- 
ed on this subject. We have, however, no business with them ; but 
have simply to show that the blood of Christ reconciled the body as 
well as the soul. The whole man is his "purchased possession." 
Nothing shall be lost ; but, " I will raise it up at the last day." 
"Wherefore comfort yourselves with these words." 

Such were the attestations of this hour to the priesthood of our Lord. 
Let us learn from it some important conclusions. 

1. That the grand atonement is made for sin. Nothing more is ne- 
cessary, nothing more is required of you, than to receive the merited 
salvation ; no sacrifices, ceremonies, penances ; nothing but, if peni- 
tent, thankfully and believingly to receive all the blessings of eternal 
love. 

2. That the sacrifice has purchased all things ; spiritual life, pardon, 
adoption, regeneration, comfort, victory over death, and eternal life. 
All are yours, to be received freely. 

3. The guilt of neglect is great. In regard to the impenitent and 
unbelieving, sin remains ; but it is fearfully aggravated ; and the pun- 
ishment which awaits those who neglect so great salvation is tremen- 
dous in its extent, and endless in its duration. 

4. You have dwelt on the circumstances of your Saviour's death; 
but forget not the love of the sufferer, — love from first to last. O let 
it excite yours ! Jesus " delivers us from the wrath to come." Let 
us show our love to him in all holy submission to his will. This is the 
principle which shall give cheerfulness to our obedience, and join us to 
him in heaven. 

2 



SERMON LXIX.] SHAKING OF HEAVEN AND EARTH. 101 

Sermon LXIX. — The Shaking of Heaven and Earth. 



« Whose voice then shook the earth : but now he hath promised, saying, Yet 
once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once 
more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, (margin, may bo 
shaken,) as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken 
may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us 
have o-race, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear : 
for our God is a consuming fire," Hebrews xii, 2b'-29. 

When he wrote these words, the apostle had been speaking of the 
terrible manner in which the law was given. In that he finds an ar- 
gument for a reverent attention to the Gospel. " See that ye refuse 
not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that 
spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from 
him that speaketh from heaven : whose voice then shook the earth." 
The trembling of the mount reminds him of a prophecy in Haggai ii, 
6, relative to the shaking of " the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, 
and the dry land," with " all nations," that " the Desire of all nations 
may come." " And I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of 
Hosts." This prophecy relates to the ecclesiastical and civil convul- 
sions of all nations which preceded the advent of Christ. But as the 
temple was a type of the Church, it may be applied to the changes and 
convulsions, ecclesiastical and civil, in " heaven and earth," — which 
shall transpire before that Church is filled with the glory of the Lord. 
The apostle, viewing this picture of change and ruin, introduces the 
" kingdom which cannot be moved," as a contrast. To make way for 
this, all other things should be "shaken;" and itself should stand un- 
moved amidst the universal concussion. And thus, having fixed the 
attention of the Hebrews upon the perishing, changing things of earth, 
and the changeless realities of the kingdom of God, he grounds upon 
the whole that important practical lesson with which the text con- 
cludes : "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, 
let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reve- 
rence and godly fear : for our God is a consuming fire." 

We have in this passage the following particulars : — 

I. The " removing of the things that may be shaken, as of things 
that are made." 

II. The immovable character of the kingdom of Christ. 

III. The practical application which is enforced by these important 
considerations. " Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God ac- 
ceptably with reverence and godly fear." 

We call your attention, 

I. To the " removing of the things that may be shaken, as of things 
that are made." 

The phrase, " things that are made," gives a reason why they may 
be shaken. The word " made" may signify, appointed, or permitted, 
for the time ; but destined, when that is accomplished, to be shaken. 
Both senses are probably included, — one agreeing best to some of the 
things to be shaken, the other to others. 

1. The first power to which the apostle refers, is the ecclesiastical 
constitution of the Jewish people. 

3 



102 SHAKING OF HEAVEN AND EAKTH. [SERMON LXIX. 

This is strongly marked by his emphatic mode of speaking : " Not 
the earth only, but also heaven." In prophetic language, heaven some- 
times signifies rulers ; earth, people. " But heaven occasionally serves 
to express the ecclesiastical power of a state ; and earth, the civil. 
The apostle had a reason for dwelling upon this. The Jews believed 
their law and religion would be eternal ; the apostle puts them among 
the things which might be "shaken." They were appointed for the 
time ; they had served for a shadow ; they had fulfilled their office ; 
and, though the unbelieving Jews clung to them, they had become 
dead, had "waxed old," and were "ready to vanish away." Their 
glory was eclipsed by the superior glory of Christ's kingdom. The 
priesthood terminated in him ; the sacrifice was taken away by his 
perfect offering ; the priests had fulfilled their course ; the temple had 
received its crowd of worshippers, but the rending of the veil desecrat- 
ed the whole. The "bringing in of a better hope" changed the ground 
of human confidence ; salvation was no longer of the Jews ; and, in a 
short time, the altar was overturned as a useless thing, and the temple 
was ploughed up as a field. Thus the " heaven " of the Jews was 
" shaken," and all its stars fell ; that the eyes of all men might behold 
the " Sun of righteousness," and the whole world might be filled with 
his glory. 

2. The Jewish state, " the earth," was also to be shaken. 

That had fulfilled its office. As a separate community, till the Mes- 
siah should come, its office was to preserve truth, though it often proved 
unfaithful ; and that the Messiah might be known to spring from the 
house of David, the stem of Jesse, the tribe of Judah. Till these ends 
were answered, the Divine patience spared it, and did not wholly shake 
it down. But then the country was swept with the besom of destruc- 
tion. All families, all tribes, were confounded ; and they have been 
wanderers and strangers in all lands ever since. Whether they will 
ever be gathered again as a nation, is matter of controversy. I doubt 
it. But if so, of this I am sure, that it will be as God's ancient, not 
as his peculiar, people ; not as a people to preserve the truth, as for- 
merly ; not to be in any special covenant, for that has been done away ; 
not to have any eminence, except their faith should be more eminent ; 
" for there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek." All that 
is shaken down. It was that which might be "moved," — a manifestly 
temporal character, and has passed away for ever. 

3. The "removing of the things which may be shaken," applies to 
every power, ecclesiastical or civil, that sets itself against the "king- 
dom which cannot be moved." 

When the "kingdom which cannot be moved" shall be fully esta- 
bhshed, civil powers will remain, perhaps also a variety of ecclesiasti- 
cal forms ; but as they will all submit to Christ's doctrines and laws, 
they will be in the kingdom, and cannot be shaken. Kings shall bring 
their " glory and honour" into the Church ; and " incense and a pure 
offering," although presented in different vessels, shall ascend from all 
the Churches. There may, also, before that time, be states and 
Churches, which, as acknowledging Christ, and favouring the esta- 
blishment of the " kingdom which cannot be moved," shall escape these 
convulsions. But whatever is opposed to it shall be shaken. Hence all 



SERMON LXIX.] SHAKING OF HEAVEN AND EARTH. 103 

pagan powers, all Mohammedan powers, all professed Christian powers 
■which hold corruptions of Christianity, and persecute and enslave God's 
people, by denying the Scriptures, freedom of private judgment, and 
full liberty of conscience and worship, are anti-christian ; they are the 
" man of sin," or the children of the man of sin, that wicked one, 
" whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and shall 
destroy with the brightness of his coming." Firmly as they have ce- 
mented and fortified themselves, how great has been, and still is, the 
shakin"- among them ! The Reformation, the French Revolution, the 
falling of the sceptre from the pagan powers, all attest this. And what 
a picture the world presents at this moment ! Two or three sceptres 
only are left to paganism. Principles are at work which must destrov 
popery ; because it sets itself against the liberties and interests of man- 
kind. And now a Christian state, which is of recent date, whose 
founder, Peter the Great, almost within the memory of our old men, 
wrought in our dock yards, in order to qualify himself to teach useful 
arts to his people, and to lay the foundations of national greatness in 
knowledge and industry, has risen to the rank of a first rate power ; 
and having humbled Persia, one of the only two states which support 
Mohammedanism, now thunders at the gates of the Turkish capital ; 
while every enslaved Christian, who has been called a dog, and treat- 
ed as one, out of pure enmity to his Master, Christ, now " lifts up his 
head," knowing that his "redemption draweth nigh." The loosing, 
the shaking, has been going on, sometimes gradually, sometimes aided 
by sudden convulsions ; but all that has opposed, or is opposing Christ, 
presents a tottering aspect. A hand, mightier than the hand of Sam- 
son, is upon the pillars ; and all the lords of the Philistines shall not 
stay the fall of the mighty ruin, when the Spirit of God descends upon 
the appointed agents, and endues them with more than human strength, 
and when they bow in their might, and shake the trembling structures 
which have so long defied the Lord and his Anointed. 

II. We have, in the text, the immovable character of the kingdom 
of Christ, — " a kingdom which cannot be moved." 

Not that Christ's kingdom is not subject to various changes, some- 
times " minished and brought low ;" but this only serves to demon- 
strate that there is a hand supporting it from above. What can account 
for the existence of pure, vital Christianity at this day, after all its 
struggles ? Hell and earth have been in arms against it ; the hostility 
of ages is unabated to this day ; the carnal mind still assails it ; yet 
it exists. But we are to understand by this declaration of our text, 

1. That the kingdom of Christ is not to be displaced by any dispen- 
sation, differing in its principle. 

It is a spiritual kingdom. Those who set up an earthly, visible one, 
set up a new principle. This is the case especially with those who 
contend for Christ's personal reign on earth, at Jerusalem. 

2. That it shall be found unshaken, when all that can be shaken has 
passed away. 

The song of the ancient saints was, " Thy kingdom is an everlasting 
kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations." — 
The annunciation of the angel was, " Of his kingdom there shall be no 
end." The vision of Nebuchadnezzar, discovered and interpreted by 
Daniel, represented this kingdom as a " stone cut out of the mountain 

2 



104 SHAKING OF HEAVEN AND EARTH. [SEKMON LXIX. 

without hands," which should " never be destroyed," but should " stand 
for ever." " All flesh is as grass," said a persecuted apostle writing 
to a persecuted people, when Christianity was new, and all the powers 
of earth were combined against it : " the grass withereth, and the flower 
thereof falleth away ; but the word of the Lord endureth for ever." 
This is the faith of the good man. Luther, in danger, when the Re- 
formation was rocked in storms, sung the forty -sixth psalm : " God is 
our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore 
will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mount, 
ains be carried into the midst of the sea." " God is in the midst of 
her ; she shall not be moved : God shall help her, and that right 
early." And the Wesleys, amidst the scoffs of an infidel nation, and 
the roaring of its senseless mobs, when there were but few signs of 
life amidst the general death, sung, — 

" Jesus, the Conqueror, reigns, 

In glorious strength array'd, 
His kingdom over all maintains, 

And bids the earth be glad." 

And all the facts of history confirm this. The Roman power is pass- 
ed away ; the Gothic barbarian is melted : the Mohammedan is hasten- 
ing to depart ; the pagan is bowing its head in decrepitude : but this 
kingdom is all vigorous and aggressive ; it lives and moves ; it attacks 
error and sin, and triumphs over all opposition. 

3. It retains its saving efficacy, unimpaired by time, unwasted by 
affliction. 

The sacrifice of Christ preserves its virtue ; his intercession, its 
prevalency ; the influences of the Spirit, their power ; and the cove- 
nant, its force. The experience of saints is as rich, their lives are as 
holy, their deaths as peaceful, as ever. Mark the glory of this. 

III. The practical application which is enforced by these important 
considerations : " Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God ac- 
ceptably, with reverence and godly fear." 

To " serve God" is a comprehensive phrase ; and includes, in fact, 
every part of practical and devotional piety, and the principles from 
which all flow. Here to " serve God acceptably" includes, 

1. An entrance into this kingdom by an open avowal, not merely 
of Christianity, but of Christianity as a spiritual kingdom ; by a cor- 
dial reception of religion in its true principle and design ; by renounc- 
ing the world, and entering the kingdom to partake of its spiritual 
blessings. 

2. To " serve God acceptably" may be taken as a sacrificial expres- 
sion, drawn from the ancient service. 

When the people brought their offering to the priests according to 
the ritual, and then only when there was this conformity, they served 
" acceptably." This kingdom has also its sacrificial institutes. We 
have a Priest, a sacrifice, a mode of approach to God. No other 
service, even in the Church, is acceptable. You are to present that 
service ; to approach as sinners ; always to draw near in faith ; that 
you may receive and thus show forth the atonement as the only ground 
of human hope, and prove that it is so by the joy of your faith, and 
the vigour of your spiritual life. To renounce this were to draw back 
to perdition. 
2 



SERMON LXIX. 



SHAKING OF HEAVEN AND EARTH. 105 



To serve " with reverence and godly fear," may be illustrated by re- 
ferring to the destruction of Nadab and Abihu, and the two hundred 
and fifty adherents of Korah, with their censers, by fire from the Lord. 
The apostle has this in view ; and the reason is obvious. These men 
rebelled against God's appointments, and wished to serve him some 
other way ; and were consumed. So the Hebrews might be tempted 
to corrupt the simplicity of the Gospel, or to go back to Judaism ; but 
in neither case could God be served " acceptably." They would find 
him "a consuming fire." Thus if we would "serve God acceptably," 
we must serve him evangelically, according to the exact rule of the 
Gospel institutes. 

3. To " serve God acceptably" is to obey the laws of the kingdom 
from the only principles which can ever make obedience acceptable, — 
from a conviction of their righteousness and their goodness ; from a 
renewed heart ; from love ; and with perseverance. 

4. To "serve God acceptably" is to enlarge the influence of this 
kingdom. 

God carries on his work by human means, giving them efficiency by 
his blessing. This is a service required ; and it is an acceptable one. 
Angels know that it is so ; and they take their part. The apostles 
were the Lord's servants, and laboured, " whether present or absent," 
to be " accepted of him." And so much importance does Christ attach 
to this service, that the common offices of hospitality, performed to 
those employed in his work, have their reward. " He that receiveth 
a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a right- 
eous man's reward." 

All this is to be done " with reverence and godly fear;" rightly feel- 
ing this truth, that " our God is a consuming fire." Survey the history 
of his judgments in the world, and in the Church ; the declaration of 
his word against formalists and hypocrites, light and chaffy professors ; 
and learn that triflers in religion are the objects of his wrath. 

Then " let us have grace." This mode of expression shows that 
there is grace to be obtained, if wo will have it. O seek it in earnest 
prayer ! 

There are many motives to this : — 

1. If we escape the judgment, as to anti-christian powers, we are 
yet surrounded with things that may be "removed." 

2. If we escape the fiery trial on earth, we shall not at the last judg- 
ment. " We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." 

3. The pleasure of serving God in his kingdom is unspeakably great. 
That service is perfect freedom. When we hearken to the command- 
ments of Christ, our peace is as a river. 

4. There is an intimate connection between this kingdom and that 
which is above. " Blessed are they that do his commandments ; that 
they may have right to the tree of life, and enter through the gates in- 
to the city." 6 s 

2 



106 ALL MEN MAY BE SAVED. [SERMON LXX. 

Sermon LXX.— God would have all Men to be saved. 



" Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the 
truth," 1 Timothy ii, 4. 

Benevolence is a distinguishing feature of the Gospel, which bears 
an aspect of mildness and compassion to every man. And it transfuses 
its spirit into the hearts of all who understand it, and submit to its in- 
fluence. The true Christian must, therefore, be a man of universal 
and unbounded charity. 

This disposition is founded upon two great principles which are re- 
cognized by Christianity, — that we are all the children of an equal, 
creating love ; and all redeemed by the same Divine sacrifice. The 
first of these principles is denied by some of the heathen systems ; the 
Brahminical in particular. With them men are essentially, and in 
their elementary principles, distinct ; some superior, and others infe- 
rior ; some expressly made by the Creator to suffer and to serve, and 
others to enjoy and to command. Whereas universal benevolence is 
laid in the principle, that " God hath made of one blood all nations of 
men to dwell on the face of the earth." 

The second principle to which we have adverted is still more forci- 
ble. The apostle, therefore, argues from this to the duty of praying 
for all men ; and consequently, to that of loving them. " I exhort, 
therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giv- 
ing of thanks, be made for all men : for kings, and for all that are in 
authority : that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness 
and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our 
Saviour : who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the know- 
ledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one Mediator between 
God and men, the man Christ Jesus : who gave himself a ransom for 
all, to be testified in clue time." So extensive is that benevolence 
which results from the redemption of mankind, that kings and subor- 
dinate rulers are specially singled out to be prayed for, not only to en- 
force the truly Christian duty of praying for them in general, but prin- 
cipally because they were the greatest enemies of the Christians, whom 
they persecuted with murderous severity. Yet even these are to be 
loved and prayed for, because they are among those for whom Christ 
gave himself a ransom. 

Important, however, as is this doctrine of universal charity, we shall 
at present chiefly regard the great principle upon which the apostle 
inculcates it. " Who will have all men to be saved, and come to the 
knowledge of the truth." It is not only the foundation of an important 
duty, ; — that of praying for all men, — but of our best hopes and comfort 
in respect of our own salvation. 

The text contains two propositions, — first, that God willeth all men 
to be saved ; and, secondly, that he willeth all men to come to the 
knowledge of the truth, as the means to that end. These propositions 
may suggest to us some important thoughts and reflections. 
Let me call your attention, 
2 



SERMON LXX. 



ALL MEN MAY EE SAVED, 107 



I. To the appellation given by the apostle to the Gospel : it is "the 
truth." 

The unhesitating manner in which the founders of Christianity apply 
this epithet to the religious system they were charged to unfold to the 
world is a circumstance not to be passed over in silence. Had they 
been conscious of the absence of inspiration, and that the Christian 
code of doctrine had been an invention of their own, it would have 
been insufferable arrogance in them to have dignified it with the appel- 
lation of " the truth." If the sages of Greece and Rome had met with 
difficulties so formidable in their researches into morals ; if they — the 
brightest geniuses and the most patient students — had declared that on 
many important subjects truth was not to be found, that it lay too deep 
for the compass of the human mind ; what was there in the fishermen 
of Galilee to command a success which had eluded the investigations 
of keener minds 1 what in the school of Gamaliel, where Saul was edu- 
cated, to outreach the efforts of the more celebrated schools of wisdom 
in the most polished states of the ancient world 1 

The confidence with which they spoke is to be attributed to another 
cause ; and by that cause it is justified. They knew that this system 
was " the truth," because they knew that it came from God. The 
heathen sages had reason, which was dark and beclouded, because it 
was only the reason of fallen creatures. The apostles had revelation, 
the mind of the Spirit, who searches the deep things of God. The 
Gospel which they preached had the evidence of the old revelation of 
the law ; for its principles were seen pictured in the hieroglyphics of 
the tabernacle. It had the evidence of the prophets ; for they had 
jointly testified of Christ, his sufferings, his glory, his doctrines, in 
language of easy interpretation. They had the evidence of miracles 
wrought by Jesus himself, in. confirmation of his mission, and which 
they themselves had seen. They themselves had the power, by invok- 
ing the name of the Crucified, to work miracles also, and thus to prove 
that Jesus was ascended, and that they spoke by his authority. They 
had, what was not the least satisfactory, the evidence of the truth of 
their religion in their own experience ; for they had felt the Gospel to 
be the power of God unto salvation. With an evidence, therefore, so 
demonstrative, they spoke, like their Master, as persons having au- 
thority. That which was not a matter of doubtfulness to their minds 
could not induce an expression of doubtfulness from their lips. To 
the world they published the Gospel as the truth, the truth of God ; 
and commanded, and by their writings do still command, an obedience 
of faith to it from all persons, on penalty of the everlasting displeasure 
of its Author. 

But by designating the Gospel " the truth," the apostle not only 
proclaims its divinity, and consequent infallibility, but also calls the 
attention of men to it as a system of the utmost importance to them, 
and bound up with their best interests. It is represented in the text 
as truth which relates to salvation. God willeth all men to be saved 
by coming to the knowledge of the truth. It is this circumstance 
which strikes so deep an interest into our religion, and distinguishes 
it as " the truth," by way of eminence. All truth is not interesting to 
man ; or, at least, every other truth is but partially so. It concerns 
the mass of mankind little, that in the present age philosophical truth 

2 



108 ALL MEN MAY BE SAVED. [sEKMON LXX. 

is better known, and more clearly demonstrated, than it formerly was. 
Whether the earth be round or flat, whether it moves or stands still, 
are questions of small consequence to the majority of mankind ; and 
even the truths which are of general import— such as the principles of 
law, good government, and useful arts and sciences — have their value 
and application bounded by the body and by time. They affect not 
the state of the soul in its relations to God, nor extend their benefits 
beyond the grave. But the truth of the Gospel relates to the soul and 
eternity. It is contained in " words by which we may be saved." A 
very general view of the contents of the system is sufficient to show 
how greatly it differs from every thing else that can claim the venera- 
ble name of truth, and how fully it is adapted to our condition. It 
lays open the source of our miseries, — our apostasy from God. It pre- 
sents to us our Maker in the only character in which he can stand to 
guilty men, — a Being offended and incensed by our crimes. It shows 
us the true propitiation, — the blood of a Divine sacrifice. It exhibits 
the terms of man's acceptance, — his deep humiliation of soul, and his 
faith in the merits and intercession of the appointed Redeemer. It 
has promises for man's encouragement, warnings for his caution, pre- 
cepts for his direction. It proclaims him immortal ; teaches him that 
he is on his trial ; sets before him the solemnities of the general judg- 
ment ; and carries his hopes and fears into their highest exercise, and 
renders them of the best possible service to him, by opening to him the 
penalties of eternal destruction, and the glories of endless felicity. 

This is " the truth," for which we are indebted to the mercy of God 
in Jesus Christ, and which is proposed to our attention, and practice, 
and enjoyment, in the Gospel. 

II. We observe in the text, that the knowledge of this truth is con- 
nected with salvation, as a means to an end ; and connected, too, by 
no less an authority than the will of God. 

He that willeth " all men to be saved" willeth them also " to come 
to the knowledge of the truth ;" and from this the inference is irresist- 
ible, that the knowledge of the truth is essential to salvation. 

This subject deserves our serious attention ; and there are two 
questions which arise out of it, — What degree of that truth is ne- 
cessary to be known in order to salvation ; and how it must be 
known. 

The first question presents a point of necessary discussion ; because 
if it were meant that, before a person could be saved, he should have a 
complete and accurate knowledge of all the truths of the Gospel, every 
one would be excluded from the benefit. The whole truth of God takes 
in a range far too ample for the capacity of man in his present state ; 
and the simplest truths stand connected with the deepest mysteries. 
Is it for us to explore the manner in which the Divinity is united to 
the human nature in the person of Jesus Christ, and in which God 
was manifest in the flesh ? the reasons why justice could not be hon- 
oured, and mercy at liberty to fulfil her purposes, without the sacrifice 
of the incarnate Son of God? Thousands of questions have been 
raised on the various doctrines contained in revelation, which the best 
and wisest of men, after the most laborious application, have not been 
able to answer : and the reason is obvious. The truths revealed are 
tlje revelations of an infinite mind, and partake of its infinity. They 
2 



SERMON LXX.] ALL MEN MAY BE SAVED. 109 

relate to spiritual operations of which we know little ; and to a future 
state, of which we practically know nothing. For this reason the 
Gospel must ever present something more to be known, as well as to 
be experienced ; and it is to be the subject of developement for ever. 
This is its perfection. But there are considerations which prove that 
a perfect knowledge of every part of. the truth is not essential to mere 
salvation. Hence it is that divines have divided the truths of the 
Gospel into two classes, — those which are essential, and those which 
are non-essential. The distinction is just. There are truths which 
it is necessary we should know in order that we may be saved. This 
is a delicate subject ; for we are apt to attach such an importance to 
our opinions as to consider them essential, merely because they have 
made an undue impression upon our own minds. We shall not, how- 
ever, go far wrong in determining this important question, if we adhere 
to the written word. 

The best way of determining what is essential for us to know, is to 
consider what is essential to faith. It is said, " He that believeth and 
is baptized shall be saved." Whatever, therefore, is essential for us 
to know, in order that we may believe, must be essential for us to 
know in order that we may be saved. In order to faith we must know 
the purity of the Divine law in such a degree as shall convince us that 
we have violated it, and incurred the penalty of its maledictory sanc- 
tion. We must know our inability to make atonement ; for without 
this the undertaking of Christ is vain in respect to us. We must 
know so much of the evidence of Christ's mission as to receive him 
as the divinely-appointed Redeemer. We must know his meritorious 
death to be so satisfactory to the offended Deity, that for the sake of 
that he will impute our faith for justification. We must know the 
provisions made in the promises for supplying us with the help of the 
Holy Spirit for the renewing of our nature, and the support and com- 
fort of our minds ; and we must know the precepts of the Gospel law, 
by which our minds and lives may be regulated according to the will 
of God. 

Without knowledge of this extent, no man can believe in Christ ; 
and consequently, without the knowledge of these truths, no man who 
has the opportunity of knowing them can be saved. 

This knowledge is necessary for mere salvation ; but we are far from 
saying that a higher degree of knowledge is useless. A higher degree 
of knowledge is, indeed, necessary, in order to a confirmed faith ; to 
enable us to meet and answer the objections by which we may be as- 
sailed ; to qualify us to instruct the ignorant ; to be a means of carry- 
ing us up to high attainments in religion ; and to prepare us for ex- 
tensive usefulness in the Church. 

The second question, how the truth must be known, in order that 
we may be saved, seems to be answered in the phrase, " Come to the 
knowledge of the truth." 

This knowledge supposes curiosity to know the truth. It is la- 
mentable that there is so little of this among men. In many in- 
stances truth is never thought of. Many people are as ignorant of it 
as they were when they were children ; and, indeed, when they are 
far advanced in life, know less than they had learned from their cate- 
chism. And yet the truth is not a vain thing. It is their life. 

2 



110 ALL MEN MAY BE SAVED. [SERMON LXX. 

This knowledge supposes the admission of truth into the understand- 
ing, and its influence upon the practice. Some men shrink back from 
this knowledge. They will not come to the light lest their deeds 
should be reproved. Whatever it cost us, we must know the truth, 
that we may walk by it, and be saved by its instrumentality. The 
natural levity and folly of the mind ought to be laid aside, and the 
whole attention directed to the acquisition of saving knowledge. While 
every means is employed in order to this end, earnest prayer should 
be offered to the Father of lights for the guidance and aid of his Holy 
Spirit ; and so shall we be made wise unto salvation through faith in 
our Lord Jesus Christ. 

III. The text presents us with an interesting view of the connection 
of the Divine will with the salvation of man'. "Who will have all men 
to be saved." 

1. The object of this will is the salvation of man. 

This has already been alluded to, but deserves a more distinct con- 
sideration. It is this which so gloriously displays the benevolence 
of God by the Gospel. Man has placed himself in circumstances 
of ruin, and God wills his recovery. He has forfeited the privileges 
and hopes of an innocent creature ; and God wills his restoration. 
All lies expressed in the word salvation. Though a negative term, 
it bears an infinite import. It has the sense of deliverance ; deliver- 
ance from the natural darkness of the mind, the painful sense of guilt 
upon the conscience, the force of evil habit, the burden of corruption. 
It imports succour in our trials, freedom from the fear of death, and 
a rescue from the horrors of hell. But, as used in Scripture, the 
word salvation has a positive sense. It denotes all the communica- 
tions of grace, and the administration of glory ; the peace which 
passeth understanding ; the transforming of the soul after the pattern 
of the mind of Christ ; the access of our spirits to God in prayer ; 
the communion of a human heart with God ; the dwelling of God in 
a temple of consecrated humanity ; the triumphant risings of the 
soul above the troubles of life, and the terrors of the tomb ; the public 
approval of the saint at the day of Christ ; the glorification of the 
whole man in heaven ; and all the glory comprehended in the vision 
of God : this is the salvation which God wills you to receive. We 
learn, 

2. That in the same sense he willefh all men to be saved. 

That this is Scripture doctrine, and that the word " all " is to be 
taken in its most extensive sense, scarcely any other argument is 
necessary to prove, than that of the apostle in the context. He does 
not attempt to prove that Christ died for all ; but lays down this prin- 
ciple, as a thing acknowledged, and never questioned among Chris- 
tians of that age, and argues from it the duty of prayer for all men. 
Christ " gave himself a ransom for all ;" " there is one Mediator be- 
tween God and man;" God"willeth all men to be saved." These 
are his premises; and his conclusion is, that therefore Christians 
ought to seek the salvation of all men by praying for them. It is a 
feeble criticism to say, that the apostle meant by the expression " all 
men," all ranks of men ; for that is the same thing. " All ranks of 
men" are " all men." If it be contended that he meant by this ex- 
pression, some of all ranks ; then we have the human word " some," 



SERMON LXX.] ALL MEN MAY BE SAVED. HI 

for the Divine word " all." One passage is sufficient to fix the mean- 
ing of the word " all," as used by the apostle, with reference to the 
extent of Christ's death. " We thus judge, that if one died for all, 
then were all dead : And that he died for all, that they which hve 
should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died 
for them, and rose again," 2 Cor. v, 14, 15. Here the remedy is de- 
clared to be as extensive as the disease. Among those who acknow- 
ledge the corruption of human nature, as the consequence of the origi- 
naf transgression, no doubt has ever been expressed as to the extent 
of that corruption. All were dead in sin, as descendants from the first 
Adam ; and for all who were thus dead, the apostle declares that Christ 
has died. 

This is an encouraging doctrine. If Christ died for all men, in the 
proper sense of that expression, then you are not excepted. The 
worst are not excepted. We are authorized to preach the Gospel ot 
salvation to every one of you ; and you may all reflect with joy upon 
the cheering fact, that he bore your sins in his own body upon the 
tree. But, 

3. The mode in which the Divine will is connected with human 
salvation remains to be considered. 

It is a natural question, " If God willeth all men to be saved, why 
is it that any perish ?" The answer is, If God willed to save men by 
overcoming their wills by his omnipotent influence, all men must be 
saved ; but he wills to save them according to the nature which he has 
given them ; and we have the evidence of his word, and of our own 
consciousness, that his will is a resistible will, and that his willing us 
to be saved does not effect our salvation without a corresponding de- 
termination of our own will. The principal opinions on this subject 
are these : — 

Some persons have considered man, when under the gracious influ- 
ence of God exerted upon him in order to his salvation, as wholly 
passive, and carried by irresistible force into a new condition. But 
if this be the case, then man is a machine ; he can commit no sin, do 
no vicious act ; and is not rewardable or punishable, any more than a 
stone is punishable for falling to the ground. These doctrines are so 
absurd and dangerous, that the religious part of the world which once 
held them have grown ashamed of them. 

Another opinion therefore is, that the will is necessarily influenced 
in its determinations by motives of good and evil discovered to the 
understanding ; and that in the case of those who are saved, such 
motives as must command the assent of the will are impressed by God 
upon the mind ; and thus it is supposed that the person so operated 
upon is infallibly brought into a state of salvation without any violence 
to his free agency. If, however, God willed all men to be saved, and 
proceeded in this way to the execution of his purpose, their salvation 
would be as certain as if they were machines. The doctrine is the 
same, though cloaked with a metaphysical garb. The mind is still a 
machine, though a spiritual one, and moved by the force of instru- 
ments suited to its nature ; I mean, by what are called motives. Ex- 
perience, however, decides against this opinion. The will is not in- 
vincibly influenced by motives ; that is, a motive to good does not 
always produce a volition of obedience to the will of God. Every one 

2 



112 ALL MEN MAY BE SAVED. [SERMON LXX. 

feels that he has willed and acted in opposition to such motives, and 
deliberately and knowingly chosen the wrong, with the certainty im- 
pressed upon his mind of the loss of the highest good, and the danger 
of the greatest evil. There is a perversity, a wickedness in the human 
heart, which often prevents the will from following the direction of the 
best motives. 

The opposite extreme to these opinions is, that man has a natural 
power to discern the right, and to choose it, independent of a Divine 
agency exerted upon his mind. This opinion needs no disproving to 
those who cordially believe the Holy Scriptures; and we proceed, 
therefore, to that view of the respective parts taken by God, and as- 
signed to man, in the work of salvation, which is warranted by Scrip, 
ture, and confirmed by experience. 

Had man been left without any supernatural aids, he must have been 
as blind to discern what is good, as he was unable to choose it. With 
the offers of mercy which have been made to him, he has had commu- 
nicated to him the power to accept of them ; as is plain from the fact, 
that he is invited to come to Christ, and is reproved for not coming to 
him. Power, however, is not action. The difference is made plain 
by a familiar instance. We have power to walk ; but we may sit still. 
The free use and application of this power is that which constitutes 
man accountable. If this be interfered with, man becomes the passive 
agent of another. His actions are no longer his own. To make them 
his own, there must be a self-determining power ; and in this sense 

" Man is the maker of immortal fates." 

He holds in his own hands the balance on which life or death is to turn. 
If it be said that this makes man the author of his own salvation ; we 
reply, that, upon this hypothesis, the sinner is no more the author of 
his own salvation, than the man's stretching out his withered hand at 
the command of Christ made him the author of his own cure. It makes 
him do something in order to his own salvation ; and this is the con- 
stant doctrine of Scripture. 

The plain facts before us then are, God willeth our salvation ; he 
has appointed effectual means to this end ; he has given us all the 
power to use these means ; and to the use of them he has promised 
his blessing. Whether we will actually " come to the knowledge of 
the truth," or not, is left ultimately with ourselves ; but whether we 
will hear the voice of God, or whether we will forbear, we have mo- 
tives, exhortations, promises ; all that can move upon our fear, our 
love, our interest. 

To apply these motives is a part of our ministry. We are made 
ambassadors for Christ, to persuade you to be reconciled to God. 
how many of you have hitherto resisted that will of your gracious God, 
which has for its object your salvation ! And will you persist in re- 
jecting his counsel against yourselves ? What account will you give 
in the day of the Lord ? And how can you endure, through everlast- 
ing ages, the deep and overwhelming conviction, that you forfeited 
the joys of salvation, and exposed yourselves to the torments of hell, 
by your own wilful folly and sin ? 

Some of you, I trust, are engaged in the pursuit of salvation ; and 
are anxiously inquiring what you must do to obtain it. It is no won- 
2 



SERMON LXXI.] LITTLE FAITH REPROVED. H3 

der that the fearful magnitude and number of your offences inspire you 
with alarm; and that the sight of them is sometimes ready to over- 
whelm you in despair. This, however, is certain, that the will of God 
concerning you is your salvation. " Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, 
and thou shalt be saved." By the instrumentality of Divine truth your 
salvation is to be effected. Study that truth. Apply it to your hearts 
and lives. And as it is in the same manner that others are to be 
saved, assist in the spread of evangelical truth to the ends of the earth, 
that all the fallen race may hear the joyful sound, and be saved. 



Sermon LXXI. — Little Faith Reproved. 



"O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Matthew xiv, 31. 

The history with which this passage is connected, like many of the 
parables, is designed to teach us the necessity of faith ; not indeed of 
miraculous faith, but of that which is of more importance to the Chris- 
tian, and produces more glorious effects. Wherever Christ calls us, and 
bids us come, though into a sea of conflicts and troubles, we are to 
obey ; and into whatever circumstances he leads us, we are to main- 
tain an unwavering confidence in him, that he will not forsake us. 

On these topics we might profitably dwell ; but my present design is 
more general. I shall make use of my text to point out to you, 

I. The evil, and, 

II. The unreasonableness, of religious doubting. 
I. The evil of religious doubting. 

Viewing the subject very generally, we might observe that the evil 
is seen in men not religious ; who are not, as Peter, disciples and fol- 
lowers of Christ. The spiritual death and indifference we see about 
us may chiefly be traced to this source. Some men doubt as to reli- 
gion in general. The flying sophisms and sneers of the infidel or semi- 
infidel writers and talkers have their secret, silent impressions ; and 
the evil is, that, as truth not admitted loses its power, we surround the 
sun with mists and clouds, and its vivifying influences are not felt. 
How much a bad state of heart has to do with this may be easily de- 
monstrated. You pretend you want evidence ; yet with one thousandth 
part of the evidence as to other things, you would fly from danger, or 
seek a worldly good, with all your heart. But one way of accounting 
for this is, that your hearts are in the one and averse to the other. 
One you wish to be true ; the other you wish not to be true. But 
where no doctrinal doubt is defined or allowed even to the mind, the 
secret doubt is conveyed by a " heart of unbelief." The reality of 
danger, the severity of God's law, the necessity of conversion ; all these 
are at once allowed and doubted. A certain proof this, that it is the 
property of a corrupt heart to disbelieve, even in opposition to the in- 
tellect. If you believed as fully that you were in danger as to the body, 
as intellectually you do as to the soul, what efforts you would make ! 
Now you make none. A spirit of slumber, a benumbing influence, has 
seized you ; for you remain in sin and the world. These are cases 
Vol. II. 8 



114 LITTLE FAITH REPROVED. [SERMON LXXI. 

which I merely mention, but do not dwell upon. My text refers not 
to doubting unbelievers, but to doubting disciples. Doubts as to the 
power, love, and faithfulness, even of their Master, are apt to arise in 
their minds ; and under them they sink. The evil of doubting, in such 
persons, is our immediate subject. The evil is of two kinds. 

1. It is an evil considered as an injury. 

You have had faith giving comfortable persuasion of the Divine 
favour : you doubt, and your joys wither. You have victory over evil : 
you doubt as to complete victory ; and your efforts after holiness are 
discouraged. You have had strength for former duties: new and 
somewhat more difficult ones arise, or perhaps your obligations are 
the very same : you doubt of help ; and you are shorn of your strength. 
You have had deliverance in spiritual conflicts : you doubt as to those 
which remain, and say, " I shall one day fall by the hand of Saul." 
You have been upheld in former troubles : now the wave rises some- 
what higher, and the wind becomes more strong, and you begin to be 
afraid with an unbelieving fear. You have had the faith which has 
turned from you the sting of death : now you anticipate thai hour in 
your thoughts ; doubt whether you shall go through the valley in 
safety ; and your hearts are disquieted within you. You have had a 
realizing faith in heaven : doubts have arisen ; and it is no longer 
regarded as that house of your Father, that familiar, desired home, 
which it was wont to be. A more disturbed state of feeling is the 
consequence. Thus you see the evil of doubting, in the injury which 
it inflicts. But, 

2. It is an evil considered morally. 

I know that this state of mind may arise, in part, from infirmity of 
the flesh, from disease or age. I except these cases. When the case 
is examined, every thing doubts but the heart ; that is sound, it hangs 
on Christ. And I know how the Lord will treat all such cases. " He 
knoweth our frame ;" and though that frame is a part of our trial, the 
faith which sustained even this load shall be found unto " praise, and 
honour, and glory." I bid you "be of good cheer." In other cases 
doubting has a taint of moral evil. I say not broadly that it is sin, in 
that sense in which a wilful and deliberate act shuts out trie soul, from 
God. But it may lead to it ; and it has a sinful quality and origin, 
and needs the blood of atonement. For look at the true origin of these 
doubts. They partly spring from the " evil heart of unbelief," which 
originates all doubt, and all denial of God, in others ; they are a stream, 
though not so copious, from the same corrupt fountain. They often 
arise from some idea of the necessity of merit and fitness to qualify us 
tor God, which when we cannot see them in ourselves, we dare not 
bring the naked atonement of Christ, and commit our all to that. 
They farther proceed from the indulgence of some neglect, which has 
introduced a slothfulness and insensibility of spirit. They come, too, 
from neglecting to " watch unto prayer," so that we do not see God, 
and we lose our familiarity with him. Finally : They issue from the 
prevalence of earthly affections, so that we begin to care and fear more 
than is due, and to take the absolute disposal of things out of the hands 
of God, where faith rests them, believing that he will do all things 
well. Thus we see a moral evil in doubting, for which we are to be 
suitably humbled. 
2 



SERMON LXXI.] MTTLE FAITH REPROVED. 115 

II. We are now to consider the unreasonableness of doubting, as 
suggested in our Lord's reproof, " Wherefore didst thou doubt ?" 

The question was addressed to a disciple, a sincere though 
imperfect one, one in friendship with his Master; and it implies 
that there was no reason to doubt. This does not apply to persons 
of another character. They have the greatest reason to doubt ; and 
to begin to doubt would be only to begin to awake from delusion. 
But to the sincere, though imperfect disciple, all doubt in the power, 
love, and faithfulness of Christ is so unreasonable as to merit the 
reproof in our text ; for reproof it is, though kind. Every thing in 
Christ reproves doubt. 

His greatness reproves it. Peter had seen his power in stupendous 
miracles : he saw it then ; he was walking on the wave ; and that 
ought to have banished doubt. We know his power ; for he is God. 
The world was made and is governed by him. His mighty arm is 
upon all its movements ; his presence is in every place ; his power is 
always in action ; from heaven to the depths of the dwellings of 
demons, one almighty energy is spread. " Is any thing," then, " too 
hard for the Lord ?" " I know that thou canst do every thing." 
" When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble 1" Doubt 
questions even almighty power. 

His official relation to us reproves doubt. These offices arc 
assumed only for us. Holy angels need them not. Fallen angels 
have no interest in them. For men, for believing men, all are summed 
up in the grand office of Redeemer from the curse of the law, from 
sin, from the world, from the power of the enemy, from future misery. 
If he has power for this, what does doubt suppose ? that he will be 
unfaithful to his office? that he will not redeem? Where is the 
ground of this ? No where. It is doubt without a foundation. It i3 
reproved by his past willingness to redeem you. Why should he 
begin his work, if he intends not to perfect it ? 

His love reproves it ; love displayed in sufferings and death. 
" Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for 
his friends." And how did he lay it down? Amidst humiliation, 
mocking, scorn, and sorrow. Is that a love to be questioned ? Eveiy 
part of the scene reproves thy doubt, every drop of blood, every pang 
of grief, his last words, " It is finished !" finished for thee. " Where- 
fore dost thou doubt ?" 

His unchangeableness reproves it. If reasons for entire affiance in 
Christ ever existed, they exist now ; for mark that great ground of 
faith, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." 
Set his personal history before you ; and ask whether there would 
have been any reason to doubt, had you lived when he was manifest 
in the flesh. Suppose you had marked his sympathy with all distressed 
persons, his condescension to the poor, his diligent teaching, his ready 
forgiveness of sins, his compassion to the infirmities of his disciples, 
his universal invitations, " Come unto me, all ye that labour and are 
heavy laden," would you have had reason to doubt ? All that he was 
he is now ; for with him is " no variableness, neither shadow of turn- 
ing." " Wherefore dost thou doubt ?" 

His work now in the world reproves it. I see several striking facts. 
Christianity yet exists. It is kept by miracle in the world, that it 

2 



116 VICTORS OVER SIN, ETC. [SERMON LXXII. 

might reach me. I see an inspired book full of promises. I see a 
ministry of the Gospel. I see ordinances, the object of which is to 
bring me and him together ; for which purpose he is in the midst of 
his worshippers. I feel the Spirit, a Divine influence, all-saving. All 
these most gracious and wonderful arrangements display a tender and 
ceaseless interest in the salvation and happiness of men ; in your 
salvation and mine. " Wherefore dost thou doubt ?" 

Lastly. I take experience. Go to the saints who have doubted, 
but are now established in the faith. I ask, whether they ever had 
reason to doubt. Go to the redeemed in heaven. They once had 
doubts. Ask them, whether they had any reason for them ; and their 
waving palms and songs of victory — victory obtained through the blood 
of the Lamb — shall give the answer. And ask thyself, " Wherefore 
dost thou doubt ?" Thou wast remembered in thy low estate. Thou 
wast awakened, justified, renewed, made happy in God, without money 
and without price. Wherefore dost thou doubt of his willingness to 
save thee to the end ? 

Conclusion. 

Have faith in God. In order to this remember, 

1. It is the gift of God. Pray, then, that the Holy Ghost may 
produce it in you ; and that, having produced it, he may strengthen 
and perfect it. 

2. It is to be exercised. Repose, then, an absolute trust in God 
your Saviour. Confide in his veracity, and power, and love. Say 
with Job, under all the vicissitudes of life, " Though he slay me, yet 
will I trust in him." 

3. You are to look only to him, when you are sure you have his 
promise. Christ is all, and in all. Look not at the water upon which 
you tread, but to him who walks upon it. Hear not the wind, but him 
who can rebuke it. Or, if a doubt arise, and thou sink, make thy 
appeal to him, " Lord, save me !" and he will stretch forth his hand, 
and say, " O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt V 



Sermon LXXII. — Victory over Sin, Death, and the Grave. 



" The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks 
be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Cor. 
xv, 56, 57. 

The subject of this chapter is the glorious doctrine of the resur- 
rection ; a doctrine so peculiarly Christian, and so interesting to all, 
that the apostle might well speak of it in those lofty strains which 
mark this striking portion of the New Testament. His words dissi- 
pate the darkness of the grave, open breaks of light into the glory of 
the future state, and show us the termination of the wondrous work of 
our redemption, by crowning the redeemed creature with " honour and 
immortality." Well might his spirit glow on such a subject. These 
interests, these hopes, he knew to be his own, and those of all true 
Christians ; and he leaves the subject with the accents of victory on 



SERMON LXXII.] VICTORY OVER SIN, ETC. 117 

his lips, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy 

victory V 

Do we wish to partake of this triumph ? Who does not 1 Then 
let us enter into the import of the terms in which it is expressed ; for 
they will teach us the only, but the sure and immutable ground on 
•which it rests. " The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of sin 
is the law." Over these — sin, and the strength of sin — Christ giveth 
us the victory ; and thus we have victory over death and the grave. 
This is the doctrine ; and we proceed to illustrate it. 
I. " The sting of death is sin." 

The meaning of the apostle is, that, to a man conscious of unpar- 
doned and unpurged sin, death is armed with a peculiar pungency of 
dread and horror. And here he refers, not so much to that natural dread 
of suffering and death, which all may occasionally feel, as to that which 
is produced by a sense of guilt, and a painful apprehension of punish- 
ment. This is an important distinction. Could we suppose a perfectly 
innocent being liable to death, as we are, and without any apprehen- 
sions as to the future ; yet, to be liable to sudden interruption in his 
plans, to a separation from beloved friends and relations, to the pangs of 
disease, and the pains of dissolution, must necessarily invest death with 
characters, repulsive, ghastly, and fearful. Here, however, would be 
no " sting," no inward biting of remorse, no rankling anticipations of 
evil beyond, no sense of the frown of God. These constitute what 
the apostle calls death's " sting." It is felt, more or less, by every 
sinful man ; and it is felt most by him who is most aware of the sad 
truth and reality of his condition. If men succeed in blunting its 
point, that is but through a delusion which makes their case the more 
hopeless ; and it is but temporary. There is a sharp and envenomed 
sting in death, to every man who, having judgment and conscience, is 
yet surprised by it without preparation ; for sin is the sting of death. 
Consider, then, what there is in the circumstances of a sinful man 
about to die, which arms death with this fearful power to sting and 
torture. 

1. The first circumstance is the loss of the world. 
The case before us is that of a sinful man, whose only portion is 
on earth, and who has no hope of good in another world. To him 
the loss he sustains is absolute. Has he been a man of pleasure ? 
His pleasures vanish, and the bitter remembrance only remains. Has 
he been a man of taste and imagination ? He shall no longer enjoy the 
sentimental pleasures of grandeur, beauty, and harmony ; for he has 
not enjoyed them in God. Is he a man eager in his pursuit of wealth ? 
His plans are broken ; and he knows that in the moment God requires 
his soul, his wealth must go to others. Has he ranked among the 
proud and mighty of the earth ? The grave which opens for him 
knows no distinction. There the servant is as his master ; and the 
dead, who have gone before, wait to mock him at his coming, as in 
Isaiah xiv, 10, saying " Art thou also become weak as we ? Art 
thou become like unto us ?" When these thoughts pass through the 
mind sickening at the sight of the grave, how they sting ! " Thou fool, 
this night thy soul shall be required of thee ; then whose shall those 
things be, which thou hast provided," and for which the soul was 
neglected, and salvation slighted ? 

2 



118 VICTORY OVER SIN, ETC. [SERMON LXXir. 

2. A second circumstance which renders sin the sting of death is, 
that, on the approach of death, it is presented to the awakened con- 
science under its true aspect. 

The nature of sin is to deceive. It assumes the forms of pleasure, 
interest, credit, nay, sometimes of virtue ; and, like its parent, Satan, 
transforms itself into an " angel of light." But when death approaches, 
opens the veil of futurity, and lets in the light, the searching light of 
eternity, all these false appearances are dissipated ; and sin then ap- 
pears capable only of comparison with itself, " exceeding sinful." The 
number of sins, before thought few, is now innumerable. Memory 
opens her secret stores, proves terribly tenacious ; and the dying sin- 
ner exclaims, " Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am 
not able to look up ; they are more than the hairs of mine head ; there- 
fore my heart faileth me." Their aggravations, before thought little, 
now appear great ; sins against light, mercy, warning, conviction, re- 
solutions, appear in all their enormity. The conviction of all these 
overt acts, with the character of them, is felt. That character, which 
before was palliated, is now all traced to the principles of sins in the 
heart, every one springing from some corresponding principle of a bad 
nature. Then the heart, for the first time, opens ; and, " Behold, I am 
vile," is the sad language which is now sighed forth. Here is the 
" sting." The man is unfit for a holy heaven, and must, if no mercy 
intervene, be thrust out as an " abominable thing." 

3. A third circumstance which renders sin the sting of death is, 
that it renders terrible that presence of God, into which, after death, 
the soul must immediately enter. 

If the sinner could be hidden in the grave, and his soul, as well as 
his body, return to unconscious dust, comparatively, this -would be well. 
To fly from the presence of God is the effort of an awakened soul : so, 
in the Revelation vi, 16, 17, the cry is, "Rocks, fall on us and hide 
us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath 
of the Lamb : for the great day of his wrath is come ; and who shall 
be able to stand ?" In convulsions of nature, men would fly from the 
reeling mountains, and the falling rock : here they fly to meet the 
ruin ; because there is an object more terrible, — the face of " Him that 
sitteth upon the throne." It is this that the sinner dreads in death ; 
and well he may ; for all that is in God is against him. His holiness, — 
intense as that " firmament" of the " colour of the terrible crystal" over 
the heads of the cherubim, in the prophet's vision, — his justice, his 
majesty, his power, his eternity, nay, each person of the trinity, will 
give rise to the bitterest feelings. Is he in the presence of the Father ? 
He has refused his calls, and slighted the love which gave his own 
Son to save him. Is he in the presence of the Son ? Will he not 
then remember the " agony and bloody sweat," his pleadings, his am- 
bassadors, and the base returns which he has made for that generous 
love which died in his stead ? And will he not be filled with horror 
at his ingratitude ? Is he in the presence of the Holy Spirit, "grieved" 
often, and now for ever " quenched ?" These reflections will point the 
sting, and keep it pointed for ever. 

4. A fourth circumstance is the banishment of the soul from God 
till the judgment. 

Whither shall he go ? Ah ! well he knows. The place is described. 
2 



SERMON LXXII.] VICTORY OVER SIN, ETC. 119 

It is a prison ; for that is understood by the phrase, " everlasting chains 
under darkness," Jude 6. The society are, the wicked ; the state, 
that of torment. Then " cometh the judgment ;" public arraignment, 
and final condemnation. 

These are the facts of the case ; these, the circumstances of every 
man dying in his sins. And when the mind is fully awakened to them, 
how truly you perceive that the apostle has not used language too 
strong, when he calls sin " the sting of death !" You see, you feel, it 
must be so, in a degree which you cannot fully apprehend, and which 
God grant you never may ! 

But this is not the whole case. We learn, 

II. That " the strength of sin is the law." That which points the 
sting of death is sin ; that which gives to sin this power and strength 
is the law. 

The expression does not mean that the law is the cause of sin. It 
is " holy." It restrains us by promises and threatenings. But when 
sin is once committed, then the law gives to sin its punitive power, 
and renders it the cause of eternal misery. So we have shown you, 
that, were we innocent, death might be awful, but could not be dread- 
ful. But when sin comes in, it is the " transgression of the law ;" 
and from thence it derives its power to arm death with its envenomed 
sting. The law is "the strength of sin." 

1. Because it is that which connects the penalty of death with sin. 
" Where no law is, there is no transgression." The same acts which 

would be harmless as to another world, had there been no law, now, 
sinee we are " under law," and know we are under law, have a very 
different character. They violate God's holy law ; and against every 
one the malediction lies. 

2. In proportion as the law is manifested, sin is aggravated ; and, 
therefore, its condemning power is increased. 

" The law entered, that the offence might abound ;" not that men 
might sin, but see the abounding of their sins. If we be not saved 
from them, then, in proportion to the manifestation of the law, is our 
offence. What strength, then, has sin to condemn in our day ! The 
law was manifested to the patriarchs, more clearly to the Jews, most 
clearly to us, by the teaching of Christ and his apostles ; and hence 
our guilt is aggravated beyond all previous example. Whatever is 
wrong, we know. In our case sin "abounds unto death." 

3. The " law is the strength of sin," because its rigour is never 
abated. 

If, then, the only remedy of the Gospel be slighted, we are left 
wholly to a law which never, never relaxes. It cannot relax. That 
is impossible, because of its three perfections. It is " holy, just, and 
good." If "holy," it can never sanction unholiness ; if "just," it must 
demand the penalty ; if " good," or benevolent, it must be enforced ; 
for it is mercy to the whole creation to punish offenders. 

4. The law is the strength of sin, because it is eternal. 

The subjects of its government are immortal. They can never die. 
They will always be under this law, which has no remedy for their 
sin, and yet eternally enforces its own penalty. 

You have now the whole case. Say, then, in these views, what 
strength, what tremendous power, must sin appear to have to an avva. 

2 



120 VICTORY OVER SIN, ETC. [SERMON LXXII. 

kened, dying sinner ! Sins innumerable rise up from the recesses of 
the memory. Death is present ; sin is behind ; the law is behind that, 
denouncing, " The soul that sinneth, it shall die :" that law relaxing 
nothing, that fearful law, fixed and steadfast to all eternity. Do you 
say, " What terrible things are these !" They are terrible. My heart 
almost fails me while I utter them. But they are not inventions of 
mine. They are in this inspired text, this word of God. " The sting 
of death is sin ; and the strength of sin is the law." Thank God I 
have not to leave you thus. My text speaks of victory, and a victory 
which you all may share. And this leads us to the consideration, 

III. Of the Christian's victory. " But thanks be to God, which 
giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Here are two things to be noted. 

1. The means by which the victory is made possible ; "through our 
Lord Jesus Christ." 

This work of Christ — for which let his name be ever blessed ! — had 
several parts, all essentially connected, all grand manifestations of 
compassion and love. 

His incarnation. What he was to do was for us, and in our stead. 
It was therefore necessary for him to assume our nature ; to be one 
of us ; to represent us. 

His sacrificial death. He came to take the penalty of our sin ; to 
magnify the law, and redeem us from its curse. Hence he died as 
our substitute. 

His resurrection. He rose to plead his death in our behalf. 

The effusion of the Spirit. He gives the Spirit to awaken us to a 
sense of our condition ; to lead us to himself; and cure the plague of 
sin, the sting of death, in our consciences. 

To open the way to the holy places, that, through death, we might 
pass into them. 

And to be the judge of quick and dead, that, at the resurrection, he 
might claim his own people, and glorify them for ever with himself. 

Yet glorious as this is, even this gives us not the victory. If Christ 
be neglected and slighted, this but heightens the guilt, and envenoms 
the sting. There is, then, 

2. A victory for us. How do we obtain it ? The offer is made to 
an awakened sinner. He sees his case. He has sinned. The law 
holds him fast. The first and second death are both before him. 
Whither shall he fly ? To his Saviour. Mark, then, the process of 
victory. Faith in the atonement secures him deliverance from the 
curse of the law. He is justified by believing. Who shall lay any 
thing to his charge ? The sense of pardon takes away the sense of 
guilt. The sting is gone. The spirit of bondage gives place to the 
Spirit of adoption. Sin itself is conquered in its power and pollution. 
He is dead to it ; he is divorced from it. Behold, then, his victory 
over death and the grave ! 

Over death. He, too, must die. He has a natural awe, and a 
shrinking from it ; but it comes. Yet it has no sting ; for he is saved 
from sin. The law can give no strength to his past offences ; for its 
penalty has been exacted. They may rise in his remembrance, and 
be causes of humiliation ; but their strength is taken away : they can- 
not raise a guilty fear ; they cannot inflict a punitive wound. He holds 
2 



SEKMON LXXIII.] SECRET PRAYER. 121 

fast his faith ; and they pass away. He is at peace with God ; and in 
another world, as well as in the present, he shall be at peace with him. 
That world is the world of which his Redeemer is the Lord ; and it is 
peopled with his very friends, who have preceded him in his triumph. 
This is victory, to vanquish fear by faith, and to live in death itself. 
" O death, where is thy sting ?" 

Over the grave ; for the apostle challenges the grave : " Where is 
thy victory V It has had its victory ; and there is something highly 
emphatic in the term, as applied to the grave. Noiseless and insig- 
nificant an object as it appears, it claims triumphs which the vanity 
of the proudest conquerors never even affected. Its victory has been 
nearly universal. With three exceptions, it holds the whole race of 
Adam ; and yawns for the generations yet unborn. It triumphs over 
the strength of man. No human power can afford the rescue, or turn 
the tide. which sets in toward that all-absorbing gulf. It triumphs over 
the art of man ; and mocks the devices of the physician, who is a dy- 
ing man himself, while he is employed in giving life to others. It tri- 
umphs over the conditions of men. The sovereign and the subject lie 
undistinguished in its dust : it inflicts on both an equal humiliation. 
It triumphs over the pleasures of men. " They take the timbrel and 
harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. They spend their days 
in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave." It triumphs over 
the cares of men. All is silent there. And, finally, it triumphs over 
the tenderest relations. " Lover and friend hast thou put far from 
me, and mine acquaintance into darkness," — the darkness of the grave. 
Yet upon the brink of the all-devouring grave itself may the Christian 
stand, and shout, " O grave, where is thy victory ?" It has been once 
conquered, — on the illustrious morning of our Lord's resurrection. Its 
key was taken into his hand. It holds the dust of his saints but as a 
deposit ; and it shall yield them up at his call. " Thou shalt call," 
says Job, " and I will answer thee," even in the grave. " Awake and 
sing, ye that dwell in dust," shall be the sweet and awakening sound, 
which every saint shall hear ; and when all shall have arisen from dust 
and death to life and immortality, then the song of anticipated conquest 
shall be turned to the shout of actual triumph, " O death, where is thy 
sting ? O grave, where is thy victory ?" 

I set before you the two scenes ; a happy and a wretched death. 
Which will you choose ? May God give you a wise and an under- 
standing heart, that you may know, in this your day, the things which 
belong unto your peace, before they are for ever hid from your eyes ' 



Sermon LXXIII. — Secret Prayer. 



"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut 
thy door pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in 
secret, shall reward thee openly," Matthew vi, 6. 

Our Lord appeared when there was much of the "form of godli- 
ness," but when its " power" was unfelt and denied. The scribes and 
Pharisees loved to perform in public those devotions which were be- 

2 



122 SECRET PRAYER. [SERMON LXXIII. 

tween themselves and God. It is absurd, as well as wicked, to make 
a boast of praying, — the very act which supplies the humbling con- 
siderations, that we are sinful, poor, and dependent. Such ostentatious 
worshippers " have their reward " in the praise of foolish people ; but 
they have nothing beyond this, either in spiritual blessings here, or in 
eternity. This is the doom of the formalist. 

In bringing the subject of private prayer before you, I direct your 
attention, 

I. To some general truths which the duty supposes. 

1. Religion is a personal thing. 

Our collective character, our knowledge, zeal, good report, as be. 
longing to the universal Church, or some particular portion of it, are 
not sufficient for us either in regard to our happiness or our safety. 
The very act of prayer supposes something personal between God and 
me. My sins are to be confessed, and to be pardoned ; my nature is 
to be renewed ; my wants are to be supplied. Never let me forget to 
ask, " What am I before God ?" Am I a pardoned man ? a renewed 
man ; a helped man ? a man under the influence of God ? or am I 
walking according to the course of this world, and filling up the mea- 
sure of my iniquities ? 

2. We are forcibly reminded that God is every where. 

We had not known this doctrine, in any view, but for religion. 
God was a local deity to the heathen. But we are not to consider his 
omnipresence as an extension and diffusion of the Divine nature, so 
that he is only partially in any particular place. God is in thy closet. 
He " seeth in secret" as much as any where ; as much as in heaven 
itself, where he reigns in his full perfection. Let us every where then 
"sanctify him in our hearts." 

3. That his regard to us is particular. 

The doctrine of a particular providence is a glorious doctrine. It 
is here joined with particular grace. God not only regards the Church 
collectively, not only guides, guards, blesses that ; but here, in the 
closet, he communes from the mercy seat, and receives the case of 
every individual. O wondrous doctrine ! Yet so it is. God enters 
into my case, sinful, insignificant, mean, helpless, and unworthy as I 
am. 

II. I offer you some observations upon the duty of private prayer 
itself. 

1. It must be frequent. 

Consider the examples of the Old Testament saints. These were 
supposed to be known by those persons whom our Lord addressed ; at 
least the examples of morning and evening prayer were familiar to 
their minds. The circumstances of those seasons are peculiar ; and 
no one can have the spirit of devotion who does not regard them. But 
we ought to engage in prayer also during the day ; because in the heat 
of worldliness we need special assistance ; and as much oftener as we 
feel spiritual languor or danger. " Seven times a day do I praise thee," 
says David ; that is, many times a day. 

2. There must be considerateness in the performance of this duty. 
We acknowledge this when we go into the house of God ; and we 

ought not less to acknowledge it in the closet : God is as fully there. 
We have some solemn transactions with him, — sins to confess, mer- 
2 



SERMON LXXIV.] FAITH OF ABRAHAM. 123 

cies to acknowledge, evils to deprecate, wants to be supplied. God, 
the great and eternal God, is near to all them that call upon him. 

3. It must be full and free ; a " pouring out of the heart." 
There seems to be no reason for the institution of private prayer, 

but that we might be more particular in it than we could be in any 
public act, or than it would be proper to be in the presence of other 
people. In private prayer there ought to be an enumeration of sins, 
of mercies, of wants, of persons in whom we have an interest, of cases 
peculiar to ourselves. 

4. It must be confidential. 

It is, eminently, a confidential intercourse with God. Our Father 
is in secret. Does he enter into our case as no one else would or 
could 1 then let us rely absolutely upon his power and grace ! 

We proceed to consider, 

III. The promise : " Thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward 
thee openly." 

Secret prayer is not designed to raise a transient emotion, or lighten 
care by a communication of it to another ; but to yield a benefit which 
shall appear in experience, and in the daily walks of life. 

What do you wish, if you are a Christian ? 

1. To maintain the serious, watchful spirit? He will reward you 
thus ; and your profiting shall appear unto all. 

2. To conquer in conflict, and more than conquer, which we ought 
all to aim at ? He will grant this. 

3. To be invigorated in duty ; that it may be cheerful, full, perse- 
vering ; that ye may have ability for the discharge of it ? This also 
he will give. 

4. To suffer according to the will of God ? This is honourable to 
his religion. He will grant this. 

5. To die well. This also he will vouchsafe, in answer to fervent, 
believing, and persevering prayer. 

In conclusion, 

1. If you have not been " rewarded openly," may you not trace this 
to a neglect of secret prayer, or to faintness in it ? " You have not, 
because you ask not ; or you ask and receive not, because you ask 
amiss." 

2. Remember that the only end of your closet prayer is to receive ; 
to press into the manifested presence of God, that he may " shine forth" 
upon you, and supply all you need. Keep this end continually in view, 
and be satisfied with nothing less ! 



Sermon LXXIV.— Abraham's Faith and Pilgrimage. 

" By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwell- 
ing in tabernacles," (or tents,) Hebrews xi, 9. 

The end for which the apostle introduced those instances of the faith 
of the anctent saints, with which this chapter is crowded, was to con- 
firm the Hebrews in their faith, and to embolden them to suffer, and 
even to die, rather than « cast it away." He could not, therefore, 

2 



124 FAITH OF ABRAHAM. [SERMON LXXIV. 

overlook Abraham. Among the examples of ancient faith, Abraham 
stood foremost. He was " the father of the faithful ;" the spiritual 
progenitor of the myriads of believers to the end of time. His faith 
is the pattern of theirs ; so that all who believe tread in the steps of 
the faith of their father Abraham. For instances of his faith are 
recorded : his going out at God's call ; his sojourning, as a stranger, 
in the land of promise ; his faith in the promises relative to the birth 
of Isaac and the Messiah ; and the faith called for by the command to 
offer up Isaac. Each might deserve a distinct consideration ; but we 
can only now observe that they rise each above the others, till the 
whole principle is exhibited in all its nobleness and majesty, as that 
which 

" Laughs at impossibilities, 

And cries, It shall be done !" 

because " the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." 

That instance which I have now selected exhibits faith in the 
important view of it, as the antagonist of earthliness ; as extinguishing 
the worldly spirit. Among the great types set up in the patriarchal 
age, where men were taught, by sensible symbols, some of the most 
important truths afterward to be revealed, was the land of Canaan. 
Enoch's translation was a sensible representation of the taking up of 
glorified saints, to " be for ever with the Lord." Noah's deliverance in 
the ark was a " figure" whereunto the antitype " baptism doth also now 
save us." Melchizedec was a type of our High Priest. Abraham's 
justification was a pattern of ours. 

We do not here follow fancy. We are not allowed to make types, 
because we can find resemblances. This is the fault of many writers. 
But where the New Testament has marked them out, we are there to 
follow the suggestion, and interpret them by that light which it affords. 
On this authority, we are to regard the land of Canaan as an instituted 
type of the heavenly state. It was the place where the Israelites 
were to rest after their wilderness-state of trial and wandering ; and, 
for this reason, their redemption from Egypt became the type of ours ; 
their warfare in the desert, and their settlement in a good land, in 
peace and safety, the type of our pilgrimage, and final abode in heaven. 

This view, indeed, the apostle had laid down in the former part of 
this epistle, chap. iv. His position is, that believers " enter into rest ;" 
now into spiritual rest ; hereafter into heavenly rest. And he shows 
that this was anticipated in the revelations of the Old Testament. 
This he does, by quoting from a psalm of David, (the ninety-fifth,) in 
which he calls upon the Jews of his day to worship and obey God, in 
order that they might "enter into God's rest;" and not to "harden 
their hearts," like their fathers, who were excluded from it by the oath 
of God. Now, this " rest," this " keeping of a Sabbath," mentioned 
by David, could not be the original resting of God from his works, nor 
the rest of the literal Canaan ; for the children of Israel had been set- 
tled in Canaan many ages. He speaks of " another day," another 
" Sabbatism," which always, therefore, has " remained" for holy souls ; 
the rest of the soul, and the rest of heaven ; of both which the ancient 
Sabbaths, and the rest of Canaan, were types. 

The same doctrine, the typical character of Canaan, the apostle 
teaches in this chapter. Abraham received a promise of the land of 
2 



SERMON IXXIV.] FAITH OF ABRAHAM. 125 

Canaan ; but he understood that the temporal promise was the inferior 
part of the covenant, and that with this was conveyed the promise of 
eternal life. And this was made apparent from his dwelling in Ca- 
naan " by faith ;" and that not merely a faith that God would give it to 
his seed," though he believed that, but a faith which "looked for a city 
which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God." And his 
conduct was publicly illustrative of his faith. With wealth and power 
equal to the petty chiefs and kings who had their royal cities and es- 
tablished dominions in Canaan, he built no city ; he established no 
principality ; although policy might have whispered that, by so doing, 
he might have facilitated the occupation of the whole country by his 
descendants. He was dead to all such considerations. The clearer 
revelation of a " better country, that is, a heavenly," had kindled all the 
spirituality of his mind; and he confessed that he was a "stranger," 
seeking this better country. And, to show that he was so, " he so- 
journed in the land of promise, as in a strange country," dwelling only 
in tabernacles or tents, and " looked for a city which hath foundations, 
whose Builder and Maker is God." 

Being anxious that you should understand the Scriptures on which I 
address you, as far as I can assist you, I have thus explained the text. 
Consider then, 

I. The object of Abraham's desire : " a city which hath foundations, 
whose Builder and Maker is God." 

This was the view under which the future state was presented to 
him ; and it suggests, 

1. The immortality of its inhabitants. The city " hath foundations ;" 
and shall ever more endure. 

2. The changelessness of its enjoyments. This is also intimated 
by the term " foundations." Its happiness is permanent. 

3. The glory of the state : " whose Builder is God ;" that is, in a 
special sense. It displays, in a peculiar degree, his power, wisdom, 
and goodness ; as we learn from the description of the New Jerusalem, 
given in the Revelation of St. John ! 

4. Common participation. There is society. This multiplies hap- 
piness to angels and saints. It is a law of our moral nature that it 
should do so. The number of beings does not lessen the confidence 
of each in God, or diminish individual felicity, as infidel philosophers 
have taught. Heaven is now increasing in happiness, by every soul 
redeemed into it. 

5. Perfect moral order: "whose Maker is God." Ay/uov P y £ may 
mean ruler ; one who labours for the public good. Perhaps this an- 
swers to " God the Judge of all," the Ruler of all, in a state of willing, 
loving subjection. What a state! We never yet saw a sinless so- 
ciety, a world of perfect order. There it is ! O it is worthy of our 
desire, hope, faith ! We proceed to notice, 

II. Those practical suggestions which this singular, but instructive, 
conduct of Abraham suggests. He chose the pilgrim's life, and dwelt 
in tents, rather than he would inhabit a city on earth. 

1. We are taught by this conduct of Abraham the true ground of 
the eminent piety of God's ancient saints. 

We admire them ; and justly. They live in the records of the 
Church ; and will for ever live. The names of kings, philosophers, 

2 



126 FAITH OF ABKAHAM. [SEKMON LXXIV, 

statesmen, soldiers ; all that, in those ages, kept the world awake ; all 
that filled the largest spaces in the public eye are forgotten : but these 
are ever before us ; objects of affectionate admiration. Their piety 
conferred on them this immortality. But on what was that piety 
grounded ? Do we ever consider that ? Let us not be like the hypo- 
crites of our Lord's days, who " garnished the tombs of the prophets," 
but whose spirit they overlooked or hated. The secret of all this 
eminence was their preference of things spiritual to things temporal. 
The former had all their hearts ; and they must have the whole of 
ours. Without this all piety will wither and decay. Then only shall 
we live in tents like them, and effectually seek the " city which hath 
foundations." 

2. We are taught to regulate our choice in life, by our superior 
regard to the interests of the soul. 

The patriarchs had clearer views of the future state from the cove- 
nant which secured Canaan to them. They were powerfully and 
beneficially influenced by the discovery. The spirit of strangeness, 
of mortification to earth came upon them ; and they preferred to live 
in tents, lest an earthly spirit should prevail. Let this teach us, when 
different paths thus open to us in life, — when changes and new pros- 
pects appear, — to consider how these are likely to affect our souls ; 
and let us choose the safe, although the less promising, path. Then 
we may " commit our way" with confidence " to the Lord." This is 
a good rule as to the settlement of children. Let us choose the safer 
path for them ; and then we can commit them to the Lord. Then we 
"choose to dwell in tents, with Isaac and Jacob." 

3. We are taught a noble indifference to the accommodations of our 
pilgrimage. 

We are sojourners. Whether we dwell in tents, as to our spirit, or 
not, we do so in reality. Life is frail and uncertain ; eternity is at 
hand. I ask, Is it fit that our first care should be worldly? that our 
desires after earthly things should exceed our desires after things hea- 
venly ? that our disappointments should be more keen than our pros- 
pects are cheering ? The apostle would not suffer passionate expres- 
sions of grief to be used by the first Christians. They were not to 
" sorrow," as men " without hope." And he lays down the rule, " Bre- 
thren, the time is short : it remaineth that both they that have wives 
be as though they had none ; and they that weep, as though they wept 
not ; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not ; and they that 
buy, as though they possessed not ; and they that use this world, as 
not abusing it : for the fashion of this world passeth away," 1 Cor. vii, 
29-31. Awake, lest the tent should fall, and leave the inhabitant un- 
prepared to meet God ! 

4. We are taught to be willing to make sacrifices for the religious 
good of others. 

This is one reason why the patriarchs chose to dwell in tents, that 
they might " confess" the doctrine of immortality. Thus they " declared 
plainly that they sought a city." Our sacrifices are different from 
those which were made by the patriarchs ; but we are taught the prin- 
ciple by which they were actuated. We are to prefer the instruction 
and spiritual improvement of others to our own convenience, ease, and 
secular advantage. That principle has operated in all useful men, ac- 
2 



SERMON LXXV.] WORKING OUT OF SALVATION. 127 

cording to the example of St. Paul ; and it must influence all true 
Christians. Giving up my will may be a proof of it ; not using that 



Gene- 



which may be lawful to me, but a stumbling block to others. 

rally, we discover this principle in a prompt disposition to labour tor 

others, to be zealous, and liberal. 

5. We are taught how to value any thing which may minister to our 

edification. . 

Canaan was an object of choice, as the type. The patriarchs might 
have lived in tents in Chaldea ; but these would not so strongly have 
reminded them of heaven. They could not walk abroad ; but the type 
suggested the antitype. Its rocks, its security, its valleys, the rich- 
ness of its soil, all were figures of the better country. Canaan was a 
means of grace to them. So do you attach yourselves to the word of 
God ; to the ordinances of his sanctuary ; to ministers, friends, and 
all who may do you spiritual good ; so shall they all conduce to your 
spiritual improvement, and serve as a scale by which you will ascend 
to heaven. 



Sermon LXXV. — The Working out of Salvation. 



"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which 
worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure," Phil, ii, 12, 13. 

Men live to eat and drink, to plant, to build, to buy, and to sell. 
And what is that being who busies himself so much with earth 1 A 
transient sojourner ; a spirit, hastening to the bar of God. Surely, 
then, we have other and higher concerns. This book tells us we have 
others. This house, this Sabbath day, your own hearts, confirm it. 
The text informs us what this concern is : " Work out your own sal- 
vation with fear and trembling." 

We call your attention, 

I. To the salvation which is to be wrought out. 

II. To the manner in which this is to be done. 

III. To the encouragement afforded by the declaration, " God work- 
eth in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." 

I. The term " salvation" has two senses, — deliverance, and a being 
raised to that state of holiness and happiness which God designs. In 
the text we suppose it includes both. Salvation was not, as some pre- 
tend, finished on the cross. It was not even secured ; since something 
depends upon our own act. Salvation is a process. The first step is, 
deliverance from blindness and insensibility ; the second, from condem- 
nation. Our salvation then proceeds into a state of entire conformity 
to the mind of Christ. Yet it supposes growth, even then. It is also 
preservation, every moment, from temptation, sloth, neglect, impatience, 
until at death the pure spirit is committed into the hands of the Father, 
and enters upon the perfect and endless happiness of heaven. 

We proceed to consider, 

II. The manner in which salvation is to be wrought out. 

1. The term " work" denotes a vigorous application of the mind, 

2 



128 WORKING OUT OF SALVATION. [SERMON LXXV. 

To serious thoughts. 
To the prayerful exercises of faith. 
To the government of the heart. 
To the resistance of temptation. 

To the means of grace, — "statutes and ordinances ;" things appoint, 
ed and arranged, with a reference to our spiritual improvement. 
To practical religion. 

2. Salvation is to be worked out, — 

By repentance, and faith in the blood of atonement, till justification 
and sanctification are secured. Our daily contests and attainments 
must be prosecuted till Heaven shall crown the conqueror. The apos- 
tle adds, 

3. " With fear and trembling :" 
Because of the treachery of the heart. 
The numbers who have fallen. 

The immense stake we have at issue. 

The frown of God. 

III. The encouragement afforded by the declaration, " God worketh 
in you both to will and to do." 

This settles the disputed point of Divine help and human agency; 
not philosophically, but authoritatively and practically. Neither does 
God so work in man as to render him a mechanical instrument ; nor 
does man so work as that the work is to be attributed to his own 
powers. 

God works " to will and to do." A great part of the controversy 
respecting free will arises from not distinguishing between a power to 
will and the act of willing. That such a distinction is just, appears 
most clearly from God's working in us " to do." Now, it were absurd 
to say, God does, that is, prays, watches, and believes for us ; but he 
gives the power. It were equally absurd to say, God wills for us ; but 
he gives the power to will ; for he restores free agency. Again : if 
God necessitated our doing, he would not " work in us to do," but by 
us to do ; so, if he necessitated our will, he would not work, not " in 
us to will," but by us to will. The sense is, that he works in us, that 
we may ourselves will and do. 

God works in us to will. Several operations are necessary here. 
He enlightens the mind ; impresses upon us the things that belong to 
our peace ; and sets before us the motives which persuade the will. 
This, however, is not power to do. " To will is present with me ; but 
how to perform that which is good I find not." God strengthens us 
by the rich effusions of his blessed Spirit. He does not convey all 
power at once. Some degree of it is given, independently of ourselves. 
Afterward the power is increased according to our diligence, and faith, 
and improvement. What then is there that you cannot attain 1 " God 
worketh in you." 

Do you doubt of your attaining to saving faith 1 " God worketh in 
you ;" and his grace is sufficient. 

Do you doubt of your attaining power over sin ? " God worketh in 
you ;" and is any thing too hard for him ? 

Do you doubt of your gaining complete salvation ? " God worketh 
in you ;" and his almighty Spirit can sanctify the most corrupt and 
depraved nature. 
2 



SERMON LXXVI.] THE KEST OF THE SOUL. 129 

Do you doubt your victory over trouble and conflict ? Fear not ; 
« God worketh in you ;" and his strength shall be so made perfect in 
your weakness, that you shall be even " more than conquerors." 

1. If you neglect your proper work, think not to blame God. He 
has both given and offered power. 

2. If you have it not, you have not asked, or have not employed it. 

3. In proportion as you are strengthened you act. Live then near 

to God. 

4. The glory of salvation is the Lord's. You do nothing but in his 

power. 



Sermon LXXVI.— The Rest of the Soul. 



"Return unto thy rest, O my soul," Tsalm cxvi, 7. 

The current of the thoughts and desires of the natural man carrier 
him from God. "God is not in all his thoughts." Can any thing 
more strikingly prove that our nature is not what it was designed to 
be, and what it once was? Could God make man to forget him? Such 
a world as this forbids the thought. The very nature of the soul, so 
inquiring, so active, forbids it. Happy they who have been brought 
to remember, and turn to the Lord their God ! Yet they are not safe 
from that evil influence within and without, which bears away from 
God. And they will often feel how necessary it is to recall them- 
selves from their wanderings, and to summon and allure their spirits 
to return to him. Let me then call your attention, 

I. To God, as the rest of the soul. 

II. To the circumstances in which we are more specially called to 
return to him under this character. 

I. God is the rest of the soul. 

He is so, 

1. As the light of the intellect. 

That men are indifferent to religious truth, is a fact which, degrading 
as it is, must be acknowledged. God in his mercy does not, however, 
always suffer the spirit to rest ; and a feeling after that which it 
knows not, that which it enjoys not, is excited. Where then shall the 
soul find that rest from its darkness and perplexity which it seeks ? 
Its views of God, of itself, of the means of pardon, of spiritual things, 
are obscure. Thus the soul is bewildered, till, with simplicity arid 
docility, it returns to God in Christ. Then his character opens ; then 
the helplessness of man is seen and felt ; then the wondrous method 
of salvation by faith is discovered ; then are seen the nature and beauty 
of holiness ; then the methods of a holy walk with God are discerned ; 
all is light. Good and evil then display their boundaries and distinc- 
tions. The paths of life and of death are set before the eye.; this 
life is connected with another ; and in that knowledge which the soul 
needs for its safety and comfort, it rests with a demonstration which 
dissipates all doubt. The morning has broken upon the steps of the 
traveller ; and he has that rest of mind which results from his having 

Vol. II. 9 



130 THE REST OF THE SOUL. [SERMON LXXVI. 

found the path which leads to the end of his journey. " I have set 
before thee an open door, and no man can shut it." 

2. God is the rest of the soul, as the refuge from the charges of our 
consciences. 

Conscience implies a knowledge of sin, with a sense of its evil, and 
a just apprehension of death as its consequence. In proportion as we 
come to the knowledge of the real fact of our condition, this " con- 
science of sins" must be more poignant. Perhaps none on earth know 
the extreme of the case. We must so know it, as that it may alarm, 
produce dread, and an effort to " flee from the wrath to come." But 
Avhither shall we flee ? Shall we flee to God ? But he is the offended 
party, the judge. It is his wrath we dread. True ; and yet, such is 
the glorious mystery of the case, from that very dread he is the refuge. 
Through Christ he may be approached without dread. He enjoins faith, 
as the term of acceptance, instead of obedience ; and the testimony of 
his reconciliation gives rest to the soul. What shall disturb it I 
" Who," says the apostle triumphantly, " shall lay any thing to the 
charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that con- 
demneth ?" So, when those charges occur again, we must plead guilty 
to them : but the same faith brings the same peace and rest. 

3. God is the rest of the soul, as our chief good. 

Man's chief good was a subject of discussion and dispute for ages; 
philosophers not agreeing in what it consisted. All, however, acknow- 
ledged this, — that, in whatever it might consist, the soul could rest in 
nothing inferior. Here they were right. That chief good is revealed 
to us. " I am God all-sufficient," said the Lord to Abraham, Gen. 
xvii, 1. Meditate on this. He is sufficient for himself, and for all 
others. Like his emblem, the sun, he has a fulness of light in himself. 
And yet, with regard to the sun, were a thousand millions more crea- 
tures to crowd the earth, not one of them should want light and heat ; 
and were a thousand more earths placed in the sweep of space, there 
are light and vitality sufficient for them all. The same remark applies 
to God. Here then the spirit rests. That which prevents rest in the 
creature is, that there is a degree of desire in us beyond what the 
creature can gratify. You see and feel the proof of this every where. 
But can you extend your desires beyond what you see in God, or 
beyond what he can supply ? He could make the creature to you far 
more excellent and satisfying than it is ; for all good in the creature is 
already from him ; and one effect of his blessing is, to make the crea- 
ture more satisfying. If he give, for instance, a thankful heart ; if he 
sanctify, and take the curse from your lawful enjoyments ; if he give 
his grace to your children and friends, and array them with his image ; 
he can thus make them more satisfying to you. In heaven he will 
make the creature more full and felicitous. What then is he, the 
Fountain ? " Whom have we in heaven but him ?" He is all purity, 
all power, all constancy, all condescension, all fulness. " The Lord is 
my light and my salvation," says the psalmist. " The Lord God is a sun 
and shield : the Lord will give grace and glory : no good thing will he 
withhold from them that walk uprightly." It is under these views 
that the soul rests in him. 

4. God is the rest of the soul, as our almighty protector. 

It is not possible for us seriously to look around at our dangers, 



SERMON LXXVI.] THE REST OF THE SOUL. 131 

without being convinced how much we need a guardianship higher 
than our own caution and strength. Evil lies in ambush in every 
circumstance. Satan employs his artifice and malignity ; the world, 
its enticements and snares. Sometimes the malice of men assails us. 
'• Let me not fall into the hand of man," says David. He feared that 
more than pestilence. There is sometimes a formidable array of per- 
plexing circumstances, which no human hand can turn, any more than 
it could prevent the collection of clouds and storms, rising in some 
dark quarter of the heavens. Great is the disquiet of the soul if it has 
no hope in God. But God is the refuge of his saints ; and, as such, 
the soul rests in him. " What time I am afraid I will trust in thee." 
"But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God." "When my 
heart is overwhelmed," tossed, agitated, as by waves, " lead me to the 
Rock that is higher than I." From that Rock the soul sees the swell- 
ing of the storm, but is secure. So the prophet rested in God when 
the Syrian army was about him. His servant saw only the Syrians ; 
he saw the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire. Hence the 
lofty language of the psalm, " God is our refuge and strength, a very 
present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth 
be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the 
sea ; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the moun- 
tains shake with the swelling thereof," Psalm xlvi, 1-3. 

5. God is the rest of the soul, as our great and ultimate end. 

We have an object in all things. Some objects are unlawful ; others 
lawful ; but when lawful, there ought to be an end beyond and above 
the objects themselves ; and that end is God. We may make success, 
credit with others, the attaining of some good, the avoidance of some 
trouble, our ends ; and lawfully, if they be subordinate ones. But the 
soul will not find its rest in them. Nothing but doing, and suffering, 
and enjoying all to the glory of God, can make them subservient to our 
rest. " Walk before me," in the sight of me. Then we have the " tes- 
timony that we please God." Then the soul rests. 

We proceed to consider, 

II. The circumstances under which we are more especially called 
to return to God our rest. 

Tranquillity ought to be the habit of a Christian : the peace of God 
ruling the heart, all. its affections, cares, and fears, spreading its wand 
over the agitations of the soul, as Moses spread his over the sea, so 
that after it had stood trembling and heaving on heaps, the even sur- 
face was restored, and it flowed on, smooth and natural, as before. 
Whatever, therefore, disturbs, creates a season in which we are to sum- 
mon the soul back to her rest. 

1. When we are too much affected by the cares of ordinary life. 

Our Lord knew our danger when he said, " Take heed to your- 
selves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with cares." 
Charged with cares they must often be ; but not " overcharged." The 
remedy for this is, to summon the spirit to return to its rest, when any 
deviation is felt or feared. And nothing is so powerful a motive to 
this, as the reflection, "The Lord hath dealt bountifully with me." 
Past times are proofs of this ; and I may still " cast my care upon him," 
because he still » careth for me." 



132 THE REST OF THE SOUL. [SERMON LXXVI. 

2. Another season is, when we are pressed with uneasy fears as to 
our spiritual safety. 

We are to be anxious to discover whether such fears have any just 
foundation. But often, when they have not, they form a part of our 
temptation. Such fears may be the result of mistaking sensible joys 
as the measure of our grace. We ought to aspire after them ; but we 
" live by faith," not by joy. Peace must be the result of a firm faith ; 
joy is the effect of many circumstances. Or these fears may be the 
result of views partially directed to the awful attributes of God, his 
holiness and justice. Partial views of goodness lead to presumption ; 
partial views of justice and holiness lead to bondage. Both attributes 
are united in the atonement ; both are equally seen in that " glory of 
God" which shines in the " face of Jesus Christ." Perfect love casteth 
out the " fear which hath torment ;" while it preserves that which is 
monitory. Or these fears may result from reflecting upon the falls of 
others, and our own past failures. Yet these ought only to produce 
caution, not prevent us from claiming a full salvation from God, as 
though our unbelief, or that of others, made the " truth of God of 
none effect." That truth stands sure. Fly again to that rock, and 
you shall find it unshaken. Or evil spirits may be suffered in various 
ways, mysterious to us, to " trouble the soul ;" and their influence, like 
a cloud passing over a tranquil water, shall at once darken and ruffle 
it. But " wait upon God ;" and the dark shade shall be chased by the 
spreading splendour of some new break of light, and the agitation 
shall subside at the omnipotent voice, " Peace, be still !" In all these 
uneasy moments say, " Return unto thy rest, my soul ;" and remem- 
ber how " bountifully the Lord hath dealt with thee," in many similar 
exercises. 

3. When we have vainly perplexed ourselves with difficulties. 

It is one of our failings that we too often go into difficulties, without 
a sufficient sense of our weakness. So Asaph, when he saw the 
" prosperity of the wicked." See Psalm lxxiii. This may stand as a 
specimen. He sought the solution in his own strength, and "was 
troubled," till he went into the " sanctuary of God." Then how sweetly 
did he return unto his rest ! In Job we have an instance of this dis- 
turbed state of mind, arising from another cause, from judging what it 
was fit for the Lord to do. The challenges out of the whirlwind 
made Job feel that it was not for " potsherds of the earth" to strive 
with their Maker ; and when he was brought to this, he returned to 
his rest. 

4. When we have experienced special deliverance. 

Having obtained from God pardon, a revival of piety, restoration 
from affliction, deliverance from temptation and sorrow ; then we ought 
to summon the spirit to " cleave with purpose of heart to the Lord," 
and to rest more fully in Him, who is the strength of our heart, our 
portion, our exceeding great reward. 
2 



SERMON LXXVII.] MISSION FIELD ADMEASURED. 133 

Sermon LXXVIL— The Mission Field Admeasured. 



" But we will not boast of things without our measure, (not measured,) but ac- 
cording to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to 
reach even unto you.. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though 
we reached not unto you : for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the 
Gospel of Christ : not boasting of things without our measure, (not measured,) 
that is, of other men's labours ; but having hope, when your faith is increased, 
that w'e shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, (with respect 
to our line into abundance,) to preach the Gospel in the regions beyond you," 
2 Corinthians x, 13-16. 

There is something in the spirit of Christianity which raises and 
ennobles the whole moral man. It effects this by expanding, and 
elevating, and purifying all those powers which distinguish him as an 
accountable and immortal being. It finds all its subjects polluted, 
and it washes and hallows them ; carnal, and it gives them spiritu- 
ality ; in bondage, and it proclaims to them liberty ; alienated from 
God, and it gives them fellowship with him ; cold and selfish, and it 
bears them away from their selfish centre into the spirit and activity 
of universal charity. 

But by nothing is this elevation of character more impressively pre- 
sented than by that holy zeal which it kindles in the hearts of all who 
are fully imbued with its spirit, and who live under the full impression 
of its necessary connection with the present and eternal happiness 
of all mankind. Of this St. Paul is at once an instance and a high 
example. Never had he been the constant model of Christians, could 
his zeal have bounded itself within a party, and been detached from 
love ; had it shrunk into a space less than the circumference of the 
earth ; and had it failed to sympathize with the wretched, to pity the 
ignorant, to weep over the wreck of immortal souls, to suffer, to labour, 
to hasten from country to country, in perils both by land and by wa- 
ter, till all the earth had heard the name of the Redeemer, and monu- 
ments to the power of the Gospel had glittered from every shore of the 
ocean, and studded every track of man. 

For such was the zeal of him who " persecuted this way unto the 
death.'' He found mercy. Freely he received, and freely he bestow- 
ed ; convinced at once that there was salvation in Jesus, and salvation 
in no other : in no other system than that of the Gospel ; neither in 1 
the wisdom of the Greeks, nor in the abolished religion of the Jews ; 
in no idol worship, and in no idol name. "The love of Christ con- 
strained him ; for he thus judged, that if one died for all, then were 
all dead," and needed that great act of Divine and boundless love. — 
And he farther judged, that an unknown Saviour is no Saviour ; that 
his death must be proclaimed, and its purchased blessings offered, be- 
fore those who were dead could live to him. 

This was his solemn judgment. How it influenced him is explained 
in the text. He had received a commission ; and he gloried in it, 
because the work assigned him thereby was a work of mercy. In 
declaring himself an apostle to the Corinthians, he did not boast of 
things beyond measure, or not measured out ; for God had measured 

2 



134 MISSION FIELD ADMEASURED. [SERMON LXXVII. 

out the whole world as the field of the labours of Christian preachers. 
Corinth certainly was not beyond his measure ; for his work had been 
owned there. But, much as he rejoiced in this, much as he gloried 
in it, the vast circuit which he had already filled with the sound of 
salvation could not limit either his boundary or his feelings. There 
were " regions beyond" still in the shadow of death ; and he rejoiced 
in his success at Corinth chiefly, as by the faith of the Church there 
he might abundantly enlarge the sphere of his labours into the pagan 
world. O powerful example to us ! Never, amidst this cultivated 
valley which the apostle had planted, watered, and covered with living 
verdure, did he forget " the regions beyond." The weight of their 
miseries rested upon his pitying spirit ; and still he urges on his 
course, to carry them salvation, resting only to gather strength ; and 
remaining with the Churches already formed only to catch up their 
fire and energy into the ever-burning and restless flame of his own 
charity. 

The text, dictated as it was by the full ardour of the missionary 
spirit, cannot but afford interesting topics for an occasion like the 
present ; and we have, therefore, 

I. The general field which is measured out for the labours of the 
preachers of the Gospel. 

That field is the world. It was impossible for the apostle, with 
all his impulsive zeal, to go beyond his measure. His commission 
was, " Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every 
creature." 

Under this head it is not difficult to establish a proposition which 
ought never to be lost sight of in our reasonings on the moral state of 
mankind, and which is intimately connected with our Christian duties. 
It is, that so far is the world from being left without a suitable provi- 
sion of moral assistance, from revelation, that provision has more than 
once been effectually made. It is not true, that man was ever left 
without this proof of the mercy of his God. But how is this proposi- 
tion to be established ? We shall not enter into the question, how 
much directive light still remains ; nor affect to hide the solemn fact, 
that a great portion of our race is now, and has been in former ages, 
walking in darkness, and sitting in the shadow of death. What we 
maintain on this subject is, that the cause of this fact is not to be 
found in the dispensations of God. In the care of the Father of the 
spirits of all flesh, all nations have had an interest. The Scriptural 
history contains all the proofs that we need. It cannot be contended 
that the antediluvians, until the flood, did not enjoy the benefits of all 
the revelations which were made in that first age. The long life of 
the patriarchs, and a succession of preachers, probably from Enoch to 
Noah, secured this. 

What, then, was the case, as to the truths which were introduced by 
Noah into the new world, from the old, and the additional revelations 
that were made to him 1 All his sons were equally sharers in them ; 
and that the whole might have been preserved and continued, is evident 
from the fact, that many of them exist to the present day. The reli- 
gious rites of all nations, like their language, bear evidence of a com- 
mon origin. The broken notices of truth, like mutilated fragments of 
a temple, adorned with sculpture, and built up into wretched hovels, 
2 



SERMON LXXVII.J MISSION FIELD ADMEASURED. 135 

show that a temple was once erected. All the new information ob- 
tained on this subject from the testimony of missionaries and travellers 
gives additional proof of this. If we find notions of God among all 
nations, can any reason be given why the proper views of him which 
were entertained in the first ages of the world should not have been 
transmitted 1 If the practice of offering sacrifice has been perpetuated, 
why could not the typical intention of sacrifice have been preserved 1 
If some principles of morals, why not all ? If we see errors handed 
over by tradition without alteration, — as, for instance, the transmigra- 
tion of souls,— why might not truth be preserved by the same means ? 
Tradition is not necessarily an inadequate medium for transmitting the 
first principles of a religion. 

Nor have we only this evidence of the care of God for the religious 
interests of all nations. The vocation of Abraham was intended for 
the instruction of the world. He bore testimony, in the most populous 
part of the east, to the doctrine of immortality, by living in tents. He 
confessed in common with Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him 
of the same promise, that he was a stranger and pilgrim on the earth, 
and that he desired a better country ; " for he looked for a city which 
hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God," Heb. xi, 10. The 
Jewish institute was designed for the benefit of the world. The judg- 
ments and mercies connected with the deliverance of the Israelites out 
of Egypt, and their establishment in the land of Canaan, had the same 
reference. The temple was erected at Jerusalem, not only for the use 
of the Jew, but as "a house of prayer for all nations." Hence the 
prayer of Solomon, offered at its dedication : " Moreover concerning 
a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far 
country for thy name's sake ; (for they shall hear of thy great name, 
and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched-out arm;) when he shall 
come and pray toward this house ; hear thou in heaven thy dwelling 
place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for : 
that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do 
thy people Israel ; and that they may know that this house, which I 
have builded, is called by thy name," 1 Kings via, 41-43. And can 
we for a moment doubt that Christianity is designed for the world? 
To all the world Christ sent his disciples ; and to a great part of the 
world they actually went. The continuance of the zeal of the first 
ages would have carried the light into all the earth, and have left no 
"regions beyond" the Church, "where Christ is not named." Why, 
then, do we affect to wonder at the mysteries of Providence, in leaving 
so many of our race to wander without direction, and to live without 
the Gospel ? God has not left them ; but they have been left by their 
more highly-favoured fellow men. The mystery is a mystery of human 
iniquity, not of Divine partiality. It is a mystery, not of Divine re- 
probation, but of human unfeelingness. The Jewish and Christian 
Churches, in succession, have incurred the guilt of unfaithfulness. The 
talent has been hidden in the earth ; and the once laborious servant 
has become weary of his work. When piety decayed in the heart, the 
flame of love and zeal decayed with it, and the world was forgotten. 
Ah! "we are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that, when he 
has cried to us out of the pit, and when we saw the anguish of his soul, 
we would not hear." 



136 MISSION FIELD ADMEASURED. [SERMON LXXVII. 

If any person say, this only shifts the difficulty, but does not re- 
move it ; we may allow it. It is a mystery still, that the state of the 
world should be left determinable by the will of those Churches who 
in different ages have been favoured by the light of Divine revelation. 
But why should we single this out as a peculiar mystery, and some- 
times even urge it as an objection against Providence ? Has not God 
made man dependent upon man in every thing ? Does it not depend 
on you to instruct your neighbour, and your children ? If you neglect 
them, they shall remain ignorant and vicious ; but will you ask why 
God himself does not perform your work, or raise up other agents to 
perform it 1 or will you in this case accuse him of indifference ? The 
fact, then, is, that God, for wise and gracious purposes, has made all 
intelligent creatures dependent upon each other ; and the wisdom and 
goodness of this arrangement are very obvious. In pursuance of this 
principle, he gave a dark world to an enlightened Church ; and instead 
of charging God foolishly with its darkness, we ought to humble our- 
selves that we have not faithfully dispersed his light. Christianity is 
the religion of the world ; Christians are the light of the world ; and 
if we refuse to hold forth the word of life, — to hold up the directive 
light, — then are we verily guilty concerning our brother. Let every 
mouth be stopped ; and let even the Church be acknowledged to be 
guilty before God. 

II. We learn from the text, that, beside this general appointment 
of the world as the field of labour, particular portions are often signally 
marked out for immediate and zealous cultivation. 

St. Paul speaks of the " measure of the rule," or line. Some writ- 
ers think he refers to the line which marked out the race courses of 
the ancients ; others, that he refers to the line which was used in mea- 
suring land. The idea is the same in both cases ; and the meaning 
is, that the efforts of the apostles were directed and appointed to par- 
ticular places by Him who knew where they might be best employed. 
As he uses agents, those agents have different qualifications. There 
is severally in them a suitableness to different departments of the great 
work, and to different places. This is his prerogative as the Lord of 
the harvest ; as the Master of his servants ; as the Commander of the 
sacramental host of God's elect. 

This special appointment was, however, variously indicated ; and 
was in some cases much less marked and striking; than in others. 
Sometimes the direction was supernatural ; as when St. Peter was 
taught by a vision to preach to the Gentiles, and to " call no man 
common or unclean ;" and when there stood before St. Paul a man of 
Macedonia, who said, "Come over and help vis." Sometimes the Spi- 
rit of God addressed the first teachers of Christianity in an audible 
voice ; as when he said to the Evangelist Philip, in reference to the 
Ethiopian eunuch, " Go near and join thyself to this chariot," Acts viii, 
29. Sometimes a strong impression was made upon the mind. Thus 
St. Paul was " pressed in the spirit," to preach Christ in the city of 
Corinth. At other times the measures of those primitive teachers of 
Christianity were directed by what appeared to them, upon a view of 
any case, the most effectual means of promoting their great work. 
Thus St. Paul, in one of his journeys, purposed to return through Ma- 
ccdonia ; and oftentimes did he purpose to visit Rome, when oppor- 



SERMON LXXVII.] MISSION FIELD ADMEASURED. 137 

tunity should serve. He seems frequently to have placed before him 
the map of the world, and to have marked out some new route of 
Christian zeal, without any special direction from above, but in the 
confidence that, as he purposed only the glory of his Master, he should 
take with him his Master's blessing ; and in not a few instances were 
the determinations of the first preachers fixed by the impression made 
upon their minds by the peculiar moral wretchedness and want of some 
particular people. Thus when St. Paul walked through Athens his 
spirit was stirred in him when he saw the city wholly given to idola- 
try ; and forthwith he began to preach to them Jesus. 

From all this we may learn that though they had occasionally su- 
pernatural direction, by supernatural means, yet they acknowledged a 
supernatural direction where the means were natural, and the direction 
invisible. Not only did they see the line stretched when visions de- 
scended upon their slumbers, or the voice of the Spirit spoke to them ; 
but also when opportunity presented itself, and when the miseries of 
man seemed to press with particular urgency upon their compassion. 
Sometimes they went forth in the spirit of enterprise and experiment, 
and concluded from their success that the line had been stretched out. 
No particular revelation had directed St. Paul to Corinth. He was 
simply " pressed in spirit" after his arrival ; and a noble Church pro- 
claimed that he had not, in going to them, stretched beyond his mea- 
sure. He had a line to reach even unto them. " Ye are our epistles," 
said he, " known and read of all men." 

These views are of importance from their connection with modern 
efforts for extending the kingdom of Christ. Too long have Christians 
been waiting for calls to this work. Too long have they dozed upon 
the pillow of lukewarmness, waiting to be roused to action by a mira- 
culous summons. The conversion of heathen nations has been con- 
sidered by them as so apostolic a work, that it is not hoped to be 
revived but by apostolic prodigies. The fact, however, is, that even 
they were not always led by prodigies. When these occurred, they 
went with ardour to their work ; but when they were not vouchsafed, 
their ardour did not abate. When special direction was given, they 
followed it ; when they had it not, they resorted to their general prin- 
ciples. They acknowledged a visible hand of God extending their 
line ; but they also acknowledged that hand, even though it was invisi- 
ble, when it gave indications of duty by putting other objects in motion. 
Strong impressions made upon their own minds, facility of intercourse 
with heathen nations, opportunities of visiting particular cities and 
districts, were all regarded as the call of God. 

Let us then ask, whether God has not stretched out our line ; whe- 
ther he has not, as Churches and as ministers, marked out our work ; 
and, however circumstances may differ, substantially, and in as expli- 
cit a manner as he did the first Christians, called us to extend the 
knowledge of his truth in heathen lands. 

In the first place, it is not to be forgotten, that our duty is as exten- 
sive as theirs. The command, " Go ye into all the world, and preach 
the Gospel to every creature," has never been repealed ; and the ques- 
tion ought rather to be, whether God in his providence has confined us 
to our respective societies, and to Christian countries, by circumstances 
which render it impracticable for us to stretch our efforts beyond them, 

3 



138 MISSION FIELD ADMEASURED. [SERMON LXXVII. 

and in this way has discharged us from more general duty, than whe- 
ther we have evident calls to go into regions where Christ is not named. 
But, not to press this, — our vocation is, I think, most obvious. Have 
we no men " pressed in spirit," as the apostles were ? and is not this 
of God ? If he thrust out labourers, does he not lead their minds to the 
work ? Will any say that those blessed Moravians were mistaken in 
their impressions, who went into the West Indies, to sell themselves 
as slaves, that they might have an opportunity of preaching to the ne- 
groes ? Did not God then stretch out their line ? Will any one say, 
that the eminent man, Dr. Carey, so long " pressed in spirit" as to 
India, was mistaken in those impressions ? or that Dr. Coke was mis- 
taken in leading our band of missionaries to Ceylon ? There was a 
providential arrangement connected with an inward feeling of duty ; 
and thus God " stretched out the line" in regard to his servants. 

Did the first preachers of the Gospel meet with men like Gaius, 
zealous to encourage their labours, and who helped them in their jour- 
neyings for the Lord's sake ? The revival of this disposition in the 
Church in the present day is another proof that our line is extending. 
Tens of thousands are ready to assist the mission work by their prayers 
and contributions ; and to bring the messengers of the Churches on 
their way " after a godly sort." 

Did the apostle consider the very sight of the superstitions of Athens 
a call to preach to the people Jesus and the resurrection ? The circum- 
stance that the state of the heathen world is brought before us, by tra- 
vellers and missionaries, is our call to the same work. This ought to 
stir our spirits. God in his providence shows us the misery of the 
heathen, that it may excite our pity, and that pity may stimulate us to 
send them help. 

Did the apostles see in opportunities of access, the hand of God 
stretching out their line ? By what authority do we put a different 
construction upon the openings which are every where presented to us ] 
Where have we no access ? Do our colonies spread through the earth ; 
and shall we plant no Churches among them? Has human power 
created so many monuments ; and shall Christian piety have no enter- 
prise? Does commerce see her lines extending in so many directions ; 
and shall we be so blind as not to see that she marks the track which 
Christian zeal is to follow, and beckons, with every new direction she 
takes, Christian charity to quicken her steps, and to haste with better 
treasures ? 

And did the apostles contemplate their successes, as the proof that 
God had directed their progress, and assigned them their work ? did 
St. Paul boast of Corinth as an instance of this ? We can justify every 
enterprise that we have undertaken. We do not boast of things not 
measured to us. The event proves that there was no presumption, 
and no mistake. Where have modern missionaries laboured without 
substantial proofs of this kind ? In the west and in the east, on islands 
and continents, the Lord has been with them giving testimony to the 
word of his grace. In every direction the Lord of the whole earth is 
measuring out to us fields of labour, more numerous than we can oc- 
cupy and cultivate without additional help. 

III. The text presents us with the compassionate regard of the apos- 
tie for those nations which were not visited by the light of Christianity. 
2 



SERMON LXXVII.] MISSION FIELD ADMEASURED. 139 

His line had stretched as far as Corinth. To that part of his course 
he had run with unabated ardour ; and he now looks with anticipation 
into larger fields, and new scenes of labour and of triumph. He hopes 
to be enlarged by the Corinthians to preach the Gospel in regions be- 

y0 lnd why did his eye measure those regions ? Why was his foot 
restless till he penetrated them ? Was this the zeal of a partisan ? A 
higher motive than mere party can supply actuated him. " The love 
of Christ constraineth us ; because we thus judge, that if one died for 
all, then were all dead." It was the contemplation of their moral con- 
dition, and consequent danger, that affected him, and called forth his 
exertions. Had he thought, as some Christians have done, that the 
heathen were safe and happy, he would not have wept over them, and 
prayed for them, and have suffered and laboured to effect their conver- 
sion, as we are assured he did. But these were not his sentiments. 
He saw them perishing, in superstition, idolatry, depravity, and guilt ; 
and he knew that the Gospel would save thousands who would not be 
saved without it. 

This is the case in regard to heathen nations now. There are still 
"regions beyond" the boundaries of the Church, and the range of 
evangelical light. What they were in the apostolic age, they are 
now, if not worse ; and they ought to excite equal regards. Let us 
contemplate them. 

1. They are regions of darkness. 

If they had retained all their primitive light, yet the Gospel would 
have been necessary as the end of the law, and of other dispensations 
of religion. But that light has been extinguished ; and they are now 
involved in a darkness so thick and palpable, that it has obscured the 
characters of God in his works, in providence, and in tradition. The.- 
darkness is so intense, that it has hidden the only way of reconcilia- 
tion. They once knew the way to the throne of grace through the 
blood of sacrifice. That way they have lost ; and they now wander 
in ten thousand paths. But " destruction and misery are in their ways, 
and the way of peace have they not known." Theirs is a darkness so 
dense, that the plainest morals are confounded; and the doctrine of the 
immortality of man, and the solemn scenes of eternity, have faded 
away ; and, for any thing that paganism can do, they have faded away 
for ever. 

2. They are regions of vain, inefficient superstition. 

To enumerate the forms, the errant fancies, of superstition, is impos- 
sible. Many of them are ridiculous, — the very sport and laughter of 
our children ; and we might regard them in the same light, if they 
were unconnected with serious consideration. But they have been 
laughed at too long ; and we ought now to weep over them. They 
have been introduced into books of travel, to enliven a page. They 
are now to be written on our memories, to rend our hearts : for can 
any object be more affecting than the spectacle of millions seeking rest, 
and finding none, by the empty, the disgusting, the sanguinary forms 
of heathen worship ? They offer sacrifices which leave sin unatoned ; 
they call on Baal, but he hears them not ; they purify the body, but the 
polluted spirit retains all its foulness ; they torture the body, but the 
inward sting remains ; they lay up a stock of merit to secure a future 

2 



140 MISSION FIELD ADMEASURED. [SEHMON 1XXVII. 

happiness, and die without hope. " He feedeth upon ashes : a deceived 
heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, 
Is there not a lie in my right hand ?" Isaiah xliv, 20. He looks for 
light, and behold darkness. Do we laugh at the ravings of lunacy? 
Do we scoff at the stumbles of the blind ? Who would not give reason 
to the one, and sight to the other ? Who then would not give light to 
them that sit in moral darkness, and wisdom to those who have no 
spiritual understanding ? 

3. They are regions of diabolical dominion. 

This is a truth more literal than some imagine. Satan worketh in 
the children of disobedience. This is spoken of heathens emphatically ; 
and the proof of this doctrine is seen in the anticipations of the Saviour, 
who says, " I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." And the 
time is coming when Satan shall be bound, and no longer permitted to 
deceive the nations. 

What indications of the solemn fact of Satan's power over the hea- 
then have we in their tempers and habits ! " Being filled with all 
unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness ; 
full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity ; whisperers, backbiters, 
haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, dis- 
obedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without 
natural affection, implacable, unmerciful," Rom. i, 29-31. The same 
indications of his power are seen in heathen worship, among the high- 
est acts of which are debauchery and murder. The Gentiles sacrifice 
to devils, not to God ; and in many instances the devil himself, the god 
of this world, is openly and avowedly worshipped, and his temples are 
still crowded with votaries, presenting to him their offerings and vows. 
The inspiration of such worship, like itself, is purely evil. Can we 
wonder that the apostles apprehended danger, and were moved to pity 
when they saw the whole world in the wicked one ? Can we contem- 
plate such " regions" without similar emotions, and without being 
moved to similar exertions ? 

4. They are regions of misery. 

" Happy is the people that have the Lord for their God." This is 
the sentiment of the royal psalmist, and is echoed through all the 
periods of the history of the Jewish nation. Change the God, and you 
reverse the effect. When devils are the gods, what must be the con- 
dition of the worshippers ? He who was a liar from the beginning 
was also a murderer. He who delights in darkness delights also in 
misery. It is under its deepest shadow that he sends forth his demons 
of hatred, and malice, and murder, to fill with misery the regions 
where he reigns. Have we ever dreamed of the happiness of his 
subjects ? Where are the proofs ? Do you find them in bosoms 
where all is vice and lawless passion ; in those families where all is 
discord and envy ? in that state of social life where an unabated sel- 
fishness predominates ? Shall we find it where the poor meet with no 
pity ; where age and infirmity have no care ; where the smiles of 
infancy cannot disarm the bloody purpose of immolation ; where go- 
vernments are unmitigated tyrannies ; where laws are partial ; and 
where religion itself wears robes stained with blood, never speaks but 
to curse, and never lifts her hand but to inflict a wound ? a religion 
which never felt a sympathy, and never administered a blessing. Such 
2 



SERMON LXXVII.] MISSION FIELD ADMEASURED. 141 

are the " regions beyond," which you are invited to visit. But these 
are only their minor miseries. Deeply as the people are drenched in 
them, bitter as is their cup, to him who believes his Bible their case 
presents scenes of more impressive solemnity. Is idolatry " the abo- 
minable thing" that God " hateth ?" Is his word full of awful denun- 
ciations against it ? Do both Testaments flame with the vengeance 
of the God of purity and justice ? Does the one declare that he will 
pour his fury upon the heathen that know him not, and upon the fami- 
lies that call not upon his name ? and the other, that they that do such 
things as those to which the heathen are universally addicted, shall not 
inherit the kingdom of God? What is the meaning of all these words? 
Will any man dare to adopt a theory which shall take away all their 
meaning, and reduce them to empty menaces ? They are the words 
of truth ; and they show us the " regions beyond" under the most em- 
phatic maledictions of Heaven. They show us millions of men at- 
tainted of high treason against the Divine Majesty, and exposed in 
life to his displeasure, in death to despair, and in eternity to everlast- 
ing punishment. 

Such were the views under which the apostle contemplated these 
regions. Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. Such 
are the views and emotions with which we ought to consider them. 
For this they are spread before us. Let the heathen be pitied ; let 
them be visited. Send them your Gospel ; let it fly abroad, and delay 
not. Bid it " heal the bruised, bind up the broken-hearted, preach 
deliverance to the captives, and proclaim the acceptable year of the 
Lord." 

III. We have the manner in which the apostle connects his mis- 
sionary enterprises with the co-operation of Christian Churches. 
" Having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged 
by you according to our rule abundantly, to preach the Gospel in the 
regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things 
made ready to our hand." 

The first thing that is to be remarked in this part of the text is, that 
the apostle supposes that the Corinthians were equally bound with him 
to the duty of enlarging the sphere of evangelical labour ; and that they 
had only a claim upon the exclusive enjoyment of the Christian minis- 
try until they had acquired a certain maturity in religious knowledge 
and experience ; — till their " faith was increased." When the apostles 
founded Churches, they appointed ministers and ordinances ; they in- 
structed them in doctrines ; corrected their errors ; and watched over 
.them till they could be left to their own pastors. But when their " faith 
was increased," when they were sufficiently instructed in the know- 
ledge and belief of the Gospel, then they went forth, and called for 
their assistance in extending the knowledge of Christ into « the regions 

We collect from this, that as soon as a Church is established in the 
taith, it is to become co-operative in its exertions to spread the king- 
dom ot Christ. As soon as its own lamp is trimmed, it is to be held 
forth to direct the steps of others. This is not only the privilege, but 
the duty, of every Church ; and it is a duty incumbent upon you. Of 
this there can be no question. You have been long established as a 
Christian society; you agree in the belief of the vital doctrines of 

2 



142 MISSION FIELD ADMEASUKED. [SERMON LXXVII. 

Christianity ; you have a regular ministry ; and you have no right to 
monopolize these advantages. If there are men who are panting to 
launch into " the regions beyond," they have a right to hope by you to 
be " enlarged according to their rule abundantly;" and you are bound 
to realize their hopes and desires. 

But by what means can this enlargement be granted by you 1 

1. By your friendly and affectionate feelings toward Christian mis- 
sionaries. 

The word which is here rendered " enlarged," also signifies to extol, 
to praise : and this is important. The missionary spirit ought to be 
held in high esteem. Can we more effectually damp the holy ardour 
by which it is characterized, than by treating it with lightness and 
coldness ? The world will scorn it ; infidels will ridicule it ; but in 
the bosom of the Church the devoted missionary is to be cherished. 
How unnatural, how monstrous it would be, if you were to treat him 
as an enthusiast ; if your hearis did not beat in unison with his heart 
of zeal and love ! Give then to the Christian missionary your friendly 
hail and cheering applause ; and thus assist in bearing up his heart 
and hands under his discouragements, privations, and exhausting 
labours. 

2. By considering the cause your own. 

You should identify yourselves with it. Nothing is so likely to en- 
large the kingdom of Christ as this, because nothing is so likely to 
propagate the missionary ministry. When your thoughts, feelings, 
conversation, are such as to express an intense interest in the case of 
the heathen, your zeal will provoke others to the cultivation of the 
same spirit, and to corresponding efforts ; and your own exertions will 
be strenuous and persevering, and the Divine blessing will attend them. 

3. By your prayers. 

How often is prayer referred to by St. Paul ! He was ever soli- 
citing and leaning upon the prayers of the faithful for the success of 
his labours. We ought especially to pray for the missionary Cause. 
It is God that must raise up men for the missionary work, and endue 
them with the requisite zeal, and patience, and self denial. He must 
give them opportunities of usefulness, by opening to them " doors of 
utterance," and fields of evangelical labour. He mus-t direct them in 
their work, and render it successful in the conversion and salvation 
of men. And for all these things we are bound to present our impor- 
tunate supplications to the throne of the heavenly grace. " Brethren, 
pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be 
glorified." Prayer brings down strength into the racer, and he seizes 
the prize. It fills the sails of the vessel which carries the heavenly 
freight. It fans the flame which consumes the stubble, and enlightens 
the world. 

4. By your counsels and contributions. 

In these respects the first Christians were "fellow helpers to the 
truth ;" and they have left us an example. Nor is any thing here to 
be narrow and contracted. The projects of missions are to be exten- 
sive. " The regions beyond " are vast ; and your wishes are to be 
commensurate with their wants. Missionaries are to be "enlarged 
abundantly ;" or into abundance ; into a large sweep of nations ; into 
an abundance of labours, success, and triumphs ; still extending their 



SERMON LXXVIII.] GOD RAISED UP, ETC. 143 

line with every year ; till their line stretches into all the earth, and 
their word to the end of the world. One sacred sweep of benevolence 
beyond another should be presented, till the circumference of the globe 
itself is at last comprehended ; or, to find an illustration in the heaven 
above us, lighting up one orb of truth after another, in wider and still 
wider orbits, till the whole heaven shall glow with the radiance, and 
our moral darkness shall be banished for ever by the overpowering and 
ever-streaming glory. 



Sermon LXXVIII. — God raised up out of his Holy Habitation. 



" Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord : for he is raised up out of his holy ha- 
bitation," Zechariah ii, 13. 

Zechariah was one of the prophets who lived after the captivity. 
Like Haggai, he stimulates the people to re-edify their temple and city ; 
and by various prophecies and scenic visions he encourages those of 
the captivity who remained behind, to return, and inhabit and re-esta- 
blish the country. 

Among these predictions we find others which clearly relate to Mes- 
sias, and to the Church he was to form, and bless, and protect for ever. 
This cannot be denied. These predictions do not only stand alone, 
but are intermixed with others of lower and more immediate fulfilment. 
This double sense is not two senses, one contrary to the other ; but 
one higher than the other, and arose out of the system of typical per- 
sons and things in the Jewish Church. The chapter out of which the 
text is selected is an instance. Doubtless it relates to the rebuilding 
of Jerusalem, the restoration of God's ordinances, the calling to their 
own land of many people who were left behind in Babylon, to many 
signal providences to effect these objects, and to the comparatively* 
flourishing state of the country after that period. 

But there is more than this implied. Two passages note this. One 
of these, which occurs at the tenth verse of this chapter, reads thus : 
" Sing and. rejoice, daughter of Zion : for, lo, I come, and I will 
dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord." The promise relates not 
to the local dwelling of the Shekinah, as of old ; but to the person 
of the incarnate God, and to his spiritual presence with his Church 
after his resurrection. The other passage is verse eleven : " Many 
nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my peo- 
ple : and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that 
the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee :" a promise which, without 
doubt, refers to the calling of the Gentiles into the Church during the 
Gospel age. 

The building of the city is, therefore, in its highest sense, the 
building of the Church of Christ ; and the calling of the Jews from 
the four winds of heaven is the conversion of that people. It is around 
the Christian Zion that the Lord will be a wall of fire, and a glory in 
the midst ; and by the many nations to be joined to the Lord in that 
day, is to be understood the constant accession of the nations of the 
earth to the kingdom of our Lord, which shall continue till all the 

2 



144 GOD RAISED UP OUT OF [SERMON LXXVIII. 

families of the earth are blessed in him, and till all nations shall call 
him blessed. 

To this day, then, the solemn exhortation refers. Now the sacred 
building is extending ; now the nations are joining themselves to the 
Lord. In reference to this great day of astonishing operation for the 
conversion of the world, at this moment a voice breaks from the sane 
tuary, " Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord ; for he is raised up out 
of his holy habitation." 

Let us consider, 

I. The sense of the phrase, " God is raised up out of his holy ha- 
bitation." 

Most of the expressions contained in Scripture which indicate the 
locality of the Divine presence arose out of the circumstance of his 
dwelling in the tabernacle of Moses ; of his resting when they rested 
in the wilderness, and marching before them when they advanced ; 
leading them against their enemies, and rebuking those enemies for 
the sake of his people. When God thus arose, he came forth from his 
holy habitation. We are not, however, to suppose that the Jews 
thought Jehovah to be a local Deity, or that those expressions at all 
favoured the notion. When God is spoken of in human language, 
local and bodily ideas must enter into it. It is so with us, and it was 
so with them. The conceptions of the mind, as to the operations of 
God, are aided by such a phraseology ; but it is not to be understood 
as applying to the Divine nature, as if that were limited in its pre- 
sence. It was not only in the temple that the Jews conceived him to 
dwell, but in the vast universe ; having, first, a residence among them ; 
secondly, a residence of ineffable glory and majesty in heaven ; but, 
at the same time, filling heaven and earth with his presence. When, 
therefore, they used the term, " holy habitation," they generally used 
it in the noble sense of Isaiah : " Thus saith the high and lofty One, 
that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy ; I dwell in the high and 
holy place." The circumstance, that he had in the first ages of their 
national existence his residence among them, going forth at their head, 
and visibly interposing in their behalf, gave rise to another mode of ex- 
pression among them. When he suffered them to fall into calamities, 
he was said to " hide himself," and to remain still ; when he appeared 
to their help, he "went forth," he was "raised up." "Stir up thy- 
self, and come and save us," says one of the sacred writers in his ear- 
nest wishes for his country's welfare. 

This phraseology seems also to be generally applied to the dispen- 
sations of Providence. When wickedness prevails, when error spreads, 
when the Church is wasted, then the Almighty is represented as shut- 
ting nis eyes, turning away his face, withholding his hand, and rest- 
ing in his holy place. But when he makes himself manifest in judg- 
ment or mercy, when he has nations to punish or to bless, when his 
Church calls for protection and help, then he is " raised up out of his 
holy habitation," and " all flesh" is commanded to " keep silence" be- 
fore him. 

II. We may consider the occasions which more particularly pro- 
cure this special interposition of God, and raise him up out of his holy 
habitation. 

1. He is raised up by the incorrigible vices of men. 
2 



SERMON LXXVIH.] HIS HOLY HABITATION. 145 

When wickedness abounds, for a time he appears to disregard it, or 
he interposes by gentle corrections ; but there is a limit to his patience 
and forbearance. The barren fig tree is at once an emblem of indi- 
viduals and of nations. Both find an intercessor, and both are " en- 
dured with much long-suffering ;" but at length justice rises from her 
habitation, and the tree is hewn down, and cast into the fire. So it was 
in regard to the antediluvians. The Almighty bore long with them ; 
but he was at length raised up, and swept the earth with an avenging 
deluo-e. When the iniquity of the Amorites was full, the sword of 
Joshua was unsheathed beyond Jordan, and avenged the cause of pro- 
voked Majesty. The Jews, having spurned the last offers of grace 
and mercy, by rejecting Christ and his Gospel, were exposed to unex- 
ampled calamities. Their city was laid in ruins, their national exist- 
ence terminated, and " wrath came upon them to the uttermost." To 
every sinful individual, and to all perseveringly wicked communities, 
are the words of inspiration applicable : " He that being often reproved 
hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without re- 
medy." 

2. Pride and oppression raise him up out of his habitation. 

"Those kingdoms that walk in pride he will abase." This is a 
maxim from which he never departs ; and all history is a comment 
upon it. The histories of nations contained in the Bible are not pre- 
served for literary purposes. They are illustrations of the principles 
of the Divine government ; principles which are universally applica- 
ble. Every power that is opposed to the laws of God must be over- 
thrown ; and the more proud and oppressive it is, the more certain, 
speedy, and marked is its downfall. There never was an act of op- 
pression, we are warranted to say, on the general principles of the 
word of God, that passed unnoticed, and unavenged. One passage 
has a deep solemnity ; and its phraseology accords with that of the 
text : " A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widow, is God 
in his holy habitation." There he sits, and beholds every injury 
which the fatherless and widow sustain ; and from thence is he raised 
up to avenge their cause. This is often conspicuously seen in private 
life ; but it is more eminently seen in nations ; and hence I think we 
may conclude that God never suffers the evils in question to go unpun- 
ished. Too little has Christianity been permitted to influence Chris- 
tian governments ; if it had, they would have been more stable. But 
when even pagan governments have become universally oppressive, 
they have been overthrown. The complaints of the poor, theories of 
orphans, the tears of the widow, the groans of negro slaves, resound 
through these lands, and call upon God to avenge the wrongs of the 
helpless. If God be true, these evils will be visited. O he has not 
ceased to listen to the cry of blood, to the sighing of the prisoner, and 
the appeals of those who are crushed and bruised ! Systems like those 
in India, which cast out millions, and deny them liberty even to build 
a house, which by their bloody rites immolate widows, and make their 
children orphans, are raising up God from his holy habitation ; and 
by mingled judgments and mercies they must be swept from the face 
of the earth. 

3. God is raised up out of his holy habitation for the manifestation 
of his truth. 

Vol. II. 10 



146 GOD HAISED UP OUT OF [SERMON LXXVIII. 

To every people God originally gave a saving system ; and all na- 
tions might have preserved it. That they have not, is a proof of 
human depravity ; for " men love darkness rather than light, because 
their deeds are evil" Had it not been for special interpositions from 
God, the truth would have wholly perished ; and with it all the hopes 
of the world must have ended for ever. Here is the mercy of God. 
Nearly, very nearly, has the light been extinguished ; but it has never 
been so entirely. Again it has been kindled ; and again, by the neg- 
lect of men, brought to the point of extinction, a sickly, dying flame. 
Again, he that walketh among, in the midst of, the lamps of the sanc- 
tuary hath supplied the oil, multiplied the branches, and placed them 
in the dark parts of the earth. So, when truth was nearly lost, it was 
revived by new revelations to Abraham. When again diminished, the 
Mosaic institute was reared ; like its own fiery pillar moving in the 
darkness of the desert, for ages the light of the entire world. After 
the corruption of that, the true light, incarnated in the person of Jesus, 
shed its glorious day over the whole civilized world. When even that 
was so deeply shaded, that only a few illuminated spots were seen, 
and those in some of the most sequestered parts of Christendom, it 
broke forth again at the Reformation, and enlightened the western 
world. And now, after ages in which he suffered them to walk in 
their own ways, the morning breaks upon pagan millions ; and if we 
misunderstand not prophecy, it shall shine to the perfect day. If we 
rightly spell its pages, the time is come when it shall be said to the 
world, " Thy sun shall no more go down." " The Lord shall be thy 
everlasting light ; and thy God thy glory." So wondrously has God 
preserved his truth ! The beacon still stands at the entrance of the 
haven, though the raging billows have spent upon it the fury of ages. 
The imperishable seed still lives and vegetates, though the feet of un- 
grateful myriads have trodden it down. The sun shines, though the 
smoke of the bottomless pit has been vomited forth to darken it ; and 
demons have given all the power of their agency to draw the infernal 
vapour round the earth, and shade all nations from its directive and 
reproving light. Their efforts have only proved the intenseness of 
that light which is designed to " make manifest" the real state of the 
world, and guide the feet of all men into the way of peace. 

4. God is raised up out of his holy habitation by the prayers of 
saints. 

On this subject, happily so familiar to you, I need not dwell at any 
length. The slightest attention paid to the representations of the 
word of God is sufficient to convince us that prayer moves Him that 
moves the universe. Every thing encourages prayer. That which 
is our privilege is made our duty. The first language of the Spirit 
in the heart is the language of prayer. The title which God bears,— 
" Thou that hearest prayer ;" and the throne on which he sits, — a 
throne of grace, a throne sprinkled with atoning blood before which 
we have all an advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous ; both encourage 
us to make our requests known to him in the confidence of being 
heard. 

If you are Christians, you know the efficacy of prayer. It was 
your penitent and believing prayer that raised him up to pardon your 
sins, and fill you with peace and joy, the fruit of his forgiving love. 
2 



SERMON LXXVIII.] HIS HOLT HABITATION. 147 

It is prayer that calls down his visitations, interests him in your cause, 
and secures to you grace to help in every time of need. 

Nor less essentially is it connected with every plan for the spread 
of his Gospel, and the prosperity of his Church. It was when the 
Church cried unto the Lord in Egypt, that he came down to deliver them. 
He was raised up, and cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon of the Nile. 
It was when Solomon prayed, that the glory of the Lord filled the 
temple. It was while the apostles were praying, that God filled the 
Christian Church, on the day of pentecost, with that presence which 
was never to depart. The place was shaken : and " they were all 
filled with the Holy Ghost." It was with the aid of the faithful that 
the Apostle Paul went forth, himself praying day and night with tears ; 
and wherever he went God was raised up out of his holy habitation, to 
give testimony to the word of his grace. Every great revival of reli- 
gion is thus signalized. The connection between prayer and success 
proves indisputably that by its pleading voice God is raised up. Yes ; 
whether the heart sighs its prayers in silence, or a multitude this day 
before me lift up their voice, all heaven is moved at the sound, and 
the responsive voice of God breaks from the sanctuary, " Be it unto 
thee even as thou wilt." " Whatsoever two or three of you shall agree 
together to ask of my Father which is in heaven, it shall be done unto 
them." Here lies the lever which is to move the world ; and it rests 
upon the promises of God, which cannot pass away. So it is in the 
Revelation of St. John. Before those great revolutions take place 
which are to issue in the giving of the kingdoms of the world to the 
Lord Christ, an angel is seen with the golden censer, containing the 
prayers of all saints. " Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest," 
and he will furnish the labourers, the means of sending them forth, the 
places of useful exertion, the disposition to receive the truth, and the 
desired success. " Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence ; 
and give him no rest till he shall have made Jerusalem a praise in all 
the earth." Before the prayers of the Christian world, the dark scene 
which surrounds you shall vanish ; the heavy moral atmosphere shall 
clear up to brightness ; and, like the vivifying breathings of spring, 
all around you shall be fanned into life, and finally shall burst into 
fragrance, fruit, and beauty. 

5. The performance of his promise to Messiah raises God up from 
his holy habitation. 

We ought never to forget, and especially on missionary occasions 
of this kind, that a decree has passed the lips of Him who is " not a 
man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should repent." 
That decree is not a secret one. Is it not written in the second Psalm ? 
" Vet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare 
the decree : the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son ; this day 
have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen 
for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy pos- 
session." The word has passed the mouth of God. Heaven and earth 
have witnessed it. 

" Engraved as in eternal brass 
The mighty promise shines ; 
Nor can the powers of darkness rase 
Those everlasting lines." 



148 GOD RAISED UP OUT OF [SERMON LXXVIH. 

This decree is not yet fully accomplished. God has been raised up 
partially to accomplish it ; but he will ere long put forth his power in 
a still more glorious manner. Even now is he raised up for this pur- 
pose. Yet let us not mistake the mode of his operation. Perhaps his 
power will not be seen in the march of visible grandeur ; not in any 
but moral miracles. If I say that God is now raised up for this end, 
am I mistaken ? Cannot I give evidence of it 1 That evidence, how. 
ever, will not appear to you who expect the kingdom of God in the 
way it does not come, — with outward show. Taking the Bible in my 
hand, I observe this marked distinction between God's operation in 
judgment and in mercy. In judgment great agencies are employed : 
in mercy, minute ones. In judgment the agencies are visible and sen- 
sible ; in religion, they are secret and moral. When he destroyed 
Pharaoh, the elements of nature were employed as the instruments of 
his vengeance. When empires are subverted, the march of armies 
shakes the earth. In the operations of nature, and the dispensations 
of his wrath, all the effects are produced by adequate causes ; but it 
is not so in the work of mercy and salvation. He is raised up ; but 
he delights to employ the weak to confound the mighty. Abraham, a 
Chaldean shepherd, restores the true religion ; Moses, a boy taken 
from the waters, becomes the Jewish lawgiver ; a few captives rebuild 
the temple ; a Jewish peasant is the Lord's Christ ; fishermen and 
tent makers turn the moral world upside down ; a monk is the grand 
reformer of the western Church ; and a few men, in our own day, pelted 
by every rabble, rouse the religious energies of Great Britain. Here 
is the hand of God, by things which are not, bringing to nought things 
that are. Where, then, is the proof that God is raised up for still 
greater purposes 1 See it in the spirit of religion, silently vivifying the 
moral principle in our towns and villages, collecting that mass of ani- 
mate zeal and fervour here which is producing excitement in the torpid 
Christian world. See it in the deepened intei-est for the heathen 
world, and the numerous efforts which are made to bring all nations to 
the knowledge of Christ. See it in the augmented charity of Chris- 
tianity. Heathenism, through all its millions of votaries, and leagues 
of country, cannot show such a spectacle as you see this day, — a poor 
widow dropping her two mites into your plate, to carry a blessing over 
oceans to a fellow creature. See it in the circulation of the Scrip- 
tures ; and in the despised and ridiculed missionary going forth in the 
name of the Lord. God is raised up out of his holy habitation. 
Here we trace his march of mercy. His step is too soft to be heard 
by the world. While princes and cabinets sleep, the moral aspect 
of the world is changing. We hear his chariot wheels, though they 
hear them not, and pray, 

" Triumphant Lord, appear." 

Let us now consider, 

III. The impression which these extraordinary dispensations are 
calculated to make on the minds of those who observe them. 

Silence is commanded ; but silence in such a case is the result of 
powerful mental impression. 

1. It is the effect of deep and intense interest. 

I can conceive of nothing which can awaken so powerful an inte- 
2 



SERMON LXXVIII.] HIS HOLY HABITATION. 149 

rest in reflecting and pious minds, as the rising of God out of his holy- 
habitation. In creation he is made manifest but for a moment. He 
said, " Let there be light ; and there was light." The work was done. 
After the world was formed, the Deity as it were retired to his habita- 
tion, and upheld its frame by a silent and invisible operation. Here 
we have God in continued action through successive ages, and only 
occasionally making himself more manifest, to intimate that he has 
been carrying on his plans. What a scene is disclosed through the suc- 
cessive dispensations of his religion, and the varied tracts and conflicts 
of his providence ! See him, in every age, setting up one, and putting 
down another ; now beaming forth in mercy, and now flaming with 
vengeance ; now calling forth things that were not, and now confound- 
ing things that were. But the interest is heightened when we consider 
all this as a part of a grand process, to have its issues in events of the 
greatest possible concern to every individual and to the whole world. 
The perplexities and apparent confusion of its course only awaken 
in them a more powerful attention, and excite a stronger anxiety in 
the final developement. Obscurest darkness has been about him ; he 
has drawn a cloud before the face of his throne ; but the end cometh. 
He has long been travelling in the wilderness, in the greatness of his 
strength ; but he now begins to urge his way in tracts more obvious, 
and in paths more straight. Let all flesh, then, keep silence before 
him, and watch the accomplishment of all that saints have hoped, and 
sinners dreaded ; of all for which angels have looked out, and devils 
have trembled to anticipate ; of all that for which the agony and bloody 
sweat, the bitter cross and passion, of the incarnate Son of God were 
endured. Let all flesh watch the result with breathless, fixed atten- 
tion. God is raised up to complete his work. The cloud is rolling 
away from the scenes on which it has long rested ; and the past is 
made legible by the light of the resplendent future. The animating 
voice of mercy rolls round the earth. The great trumpet is blown ; 
and they that are ready to perish are coming forth at the signal of 
liberty. The dead begin to hear the voice of the Son of God ; and they 
that hear him live. The nations begin to be blessed in him ; and the 
nations in return call him blessed. With silent interest may we watch 
these wonders ; or only break it to say, with trembling awe, " Who 
would not fear thee, O King of nations, and glorify thy name?" 
2. Reproof produces silence. 

When conviction of guilt is carried to the heart, every mouth is 
stopped before God ; and such is the silence produced even in the 
Church by the rising up of God out of his holy habitation. 

Unbelief is reproved. In seasons of darkness, and times of moral 
decay, seldom indeed has the faith been found that has not staggered 
at the promise through unbelief. When Christ was asleep, and the 
wind was boisterous, and the vessel was ready to sink, the disciples 
began to be afraid. When the Saviour was raised up by their cries, 
he calmed the waves, and reprovingly said, " ye of little faith, where- 
fore did you doubt?" 

Complaint is reproved. " But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken 
me, and my God hath forgotten me." He rises up and cries, " I have 
graven thee on the palms of my hands ; thy walls are continually be- 
fore me ;" and the silence of Zion confesses the shajne of her distrust. 

2 



150 GOD KAISED UP OUT OF [SERMON LXXVIH. 

And when God, after long apparent delays, rises up out of his holy- 
habitation, and appears in the greatness of his mercy and saving 
power, all those false conclusions we are so apt to draw from the dark- 
ness of his dispensations shall be reproved and silenced by his appear- 
ance. We then say, with Job, " Behold, I am vile ; what shall I answer 
thee ? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken ; but 
I will not answer : yea, twice ; but I will proceed no farther." 

3. Satisfaction produces silence. 

When every wish is gratified, and every desire fulfilled, all is silent 
and deep enjoyment. Such shall be the enjoyment of the Church, 
when her warfare is accomplished, and her triumphs are completed. 
Till then her cries must be heard ; till then her prayers must ascend 
before God. She cannot look on a dark and wretched world, and not 
mourn. She has sheep that have been long wandering from the fold ; 
and they are yet going astray. She has children that have long been 
absent from her house ; and, like Rachel, she refuses to be comforted, 
because they are not. But the wanderers shall return ; and she, be- 
holding her sons coming from afar, shall cry with joy, " And these, 
where have they been ?" Then comes the silence of satisfaction ; 
and the joy is unutterable. Then, when David contemplates the per- 
fecting of the redeeming scheme, and the universal establishment of 
the mild and gracious kingdom of Messiah, he has no more to ask. 
The voice even of his prayers ceases, and he exclaims, " Blessed be 
the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things; 
and blessed be his glorious name for ever : and let the whole earth be 
filled with his glory. The prayers of David the Son of Jesse are end- 
ed," Psalm Ixxii, 18-20. He is content that the silence of death 
should succeed to the voice of prayer and mourning upon earth, that 
he might take up the song of heaven. 

4. But all flesh, as well as the Church, is commanded to keep si- 
lence before him. 

When the final displays of his interposition take place, — when in 
the sight of all the earth he is raised up out of his holy habitation, all 
flesh shall bow before him in the silence of complete submission. The 
din of the moral war shall cease ; the shouts of blasphemous opposition 
shall be silenced ; not a voice shall be heard among earth's millions, 
to cry, as of old, " Let us break their bands in sunder, and cast away 
their cords from us." For the glory of his majesty, not an enemy 
of Christ shall then dare to peep or to mutter. So softly, after a day 
of tempests and agitations, shall the evening of the world be lulled to 
rest ; so calmly shall the stream of time, lashed and chased throughout 
almost the whole of its course, — now turned up by winds, now im- 
pelled by tides, and now roaring over cataracts, — sink, and glide into 
the ocean of eternity. 

IV But is the whole to issue in emotion ? Certainly not. God 
is raised up out of his place, to raise us up from ours. When the work 
is done, we may give up ourselves to wonder, love, and praise : but, 
though we may admire and praise now, we must both pray and work. 
We are to be fellow helpers to the truth. The subject may impress 
us, with reference to our co-operation, two ways : first, it is our en- 
couragement that God is " raised up out of his holy habitation ;" and, 
secondly, it will render us inexcusable if we refuse. 
'2 



SEEMON LXXVIII.] HIS HOLY HABITATION. 151 

1. If God is thus raised up, we have many encouragements to ex- 
ertion. 

We are clear in our cause. This is most important. The work in 
which we are engaged, when advancing the interests of Christianity, 
is the work and cause of God. 

We have the Divine sanction. Do any persons ask our authority ? 
We follow where God himself leads. We obey a command which he 
has given ; we embrace opportunities which he supplies ; and we re- 
joice in a success which is gained by his blessing. Our work, there- 
fore, is not to be rebuked by worldly policy. 

Prayer must be heard. When we pray for the blessing of God 
upon our labours, we ask nothing but what God has set his heart upon ; 
and surely in this he is more ready to hear than we are to call upon 
him. 

We shall not want co-operation. We need help in all the depart- 
ments of our cause ; we who preach to excite your zeal, and you who 
devise plans of usefulness, and provide the means of carrying them 
into practical effect. We shall not want missionaries ; for the Lord 
of the harvest will thrust them forth. Nor shall we want fields of 
labour. These are already wonderfully opened. For, indeed, all is 
harmony in the Divine operations. He provides no minister without 
a people to hear him ; and if that minister pause, a man of Macedonia 
shall say to him, "Come over, and help us." Some door shall be 
opened, or some call shall be heard, pointing out to him the will of his 
Divine Master. 

We cannot want success. A cause must triumph that is supported 
by the Divine omnipotence. Checks and delays may occur in its pro- 
gress ; but the plan must run on to its accomplishment. To unbelief 
the battle may for a time appear doubtful ; but victory is certain. You 
may hear difficulties suggested, and allow their force ; but the assur- 
ance, that God is raised up out of his holy habitation is a sufficient 
answer to them all. 

2. We shall be inexcusable, if we refuse to espouse this cause. 
Deeply guilty is every man who refuses his aid. The Lord is risen ; 

and this unfaithful servant is unwilling to follow. He deserts his stand- 
ard ; he disowns his cause ; he buries his talent ; he hardens his heart 
against the world's misery ; he has no jealousy for his Lord's honour. 
He cannot say that " the time is not come." That plea of sloth has 
been taken away; for "the Lord is raised up." He cannot say that 
he has no special call to this work ; for the call is most distinct, and 
the signal is given. He cannot say that he is unable to aid the cause ; 
for it is served in every possible way. Yes ; every professor of Chris- 
tianity who declines to assist this cause is as inexcusable as Peter 
would have been, had he refused to go to Cornelius ; as Paul, if he had 
refused to go into Macedonia ; as all the disciples, if they had refused 
to execute their Lord's commission. 

You may refuse your help ; but if you will not arise, and be work- 
ers together with God, your own religious advantages will be placed 
in jeopardy, and he will ultimately remove your candlestick out of its 
place. But this I cannot anticipate. You are a people prepared for 
the Lord ; and you inquire of him, « What wouldest thou have me 
to do ?" 

2 



152 GOD RAISED UP, ETC. [SERMON LXXVIII. 

" Behold the servant of the Lord, 
I wait thy guiding eye to feel, 
To hear and keep thy every word, 
To prove and do thy perfect will." 

Well, then, join the universal Church ; fall into the ranks ; gird on your 
armour ; eye your signal ; and when Providence opens an opportunity 
to aid this great cause, embrace it, and you do the work assigned you. 
When shall it be that the universal Church shall be put into harmoni- 
ous motion, moving to one common object ? The time is hastening ; 
a goodly band is united already, and its number is increasing. " Thy 
people shall be willing in the day of thy power ;" and they shall move 
on to victory. O yes ; the Lord is raised up to glorious war ; and let 
all the earth keep silence before him. 

Infidels, keep silence. You have said, " Where is the promise of 
his coming ?" You have derided the prophecies, and disregarded the 
power of the Gospel. Behold, then, that, after the lapse of eighteen 
centuries, its power is unabated, and monuments of its saving efficacy 
are erected in every land that it has visited, carrying salvation along 
■with it, as it did at first. It has survived your scoffs and subtleties, 
while you are covered with shame. 

i Heartless^professors of religion, keep silence. Christianity, which 
you so greatly dishonour, is all heart and feeling. Never have you 
opened your lips but to check the ardour and repress the efforts of 
your fellow Christians. We surround you with the converted slaves 
of our western colonies, regenerated savages of America, the reclaimed 
idolaters of the eastern world ; and we ask whether God has not him- 
self sanctioned the work which you would have bound and fettered with 
the chains of your icy objections ? Let those keep silence who have 
triumphed in the retrograde condition of Christianity after the first 
ages, and have asked, " How can that be Divine which has failed of 
its purpose to convert the world 1" Little do you know of those secret 
energies, those exhaustless powers, Avhich, after ages of dormancy, be- 
gin now to unfold themselves. From that handful of corn has been 
produced a harvest to sow all countries. From that single beam of 
light, which you have seen only on the horizon of the western world, 
shall burst a flood of splendour which shall overspread the earth. Like 
the inhabitants of Ai, you have shouted when Israel turned their backs ; 
but you see not Joshua giving the appointed signal. "The captain 
of the Lord's host stretches out his spear ;" the tide of flight is stop- 
ped ; and the city is taken. 

The Lord will silence the taunts of devils, who have so long revelled 
in the darkness and misery of the pagan world. Jesus ye know, and 
Paul ye know. Even in your choicest seats that voice is again heard, 
at whose sound of old ye came forth and fled. 

" The oracles are dumb. 
No voice or hideous hum 

Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving: 
Apollo from his shrine 
Can no more divine, 

With hollow shriek the step of Delphos leaving." 

Let the noise of those unhallowed multitudes be hushed, who sur- 
round the forms of Baal. Go, convicted of your sin, and cast your 
2 



SERMON LXXIX.] ALL NATIONS BLESSED, ETC. 153 

idols to the moles and to the bats ; and hide you in the holes of the 
rocks, to weep that you have done that abominable thing which God 
hateth, having changed his glory, and defied his name. 

He shall silence the shrieks of burning widows, and the cries of im- 
molated children. " A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the 
widow, is God in his holy habitation." In him they shall find mercy. 

" Let all flesh keep silence before the Lord ; for he is raised up out 
of his holy habitation." But the silence shall be broken. The sigh of 
penitence shall break it. The world shall lay its broken and contrite 
heart before the Lord ; and he will be merciful to their unrighteous- 
ness, and remember their sins and iniquities no more. The sounds 
of praise shall break the silence. The voice of joy shall be heard in 
the tabernacles of the righteous ; and it shall be taken up by a strain 
high above the rest ; a strain which all the earth shall hear ; a strain 
at which hell shall tremble through all her deeps ; a strain which shall 
awake every harp in heaven, and every tongue on earth : " The king- 
doms of this world are become the kingdoms of our God and of his 
Christ ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." 



Sermon LXXIX. — All Nations blessed in the Seed of Abraham. 



" And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed ; because thou 
hast obeyed my voice," Gen. xxii, 18. 

Whatever God does is done in wisdom. This is always so, whether 
we are able to perceive it, or not ; but in the history with which the 
text is connected, it is instructively apparent. One design of the call 
of Abraham was the separation of his posterity from surrounding na- 
tions : and when we recollect this, we shall at once see the wisdom 
of placing a man like him at the head of this peculiar people. They 
were thus called to look, as to an example, to one who forsook all 
idolatrous practices, believed with so lofty a faith, and submitted so 
implicitly to the command of God. That Abraham was their father, 
must have kept the standard of faith and morals much higher than 
under different circumstances. And there is another view of the case. 
It was likewise the design of God to exhibit to the ancient Church, 
and to preserve in it, the doctrine of justification. Now, we may see 
the Divine wisdom in exhibiting this doctrine, not merely by figura- 
tive promises and typical sacrifices, but in a personal instance, and 
that instance, the founder and head of the Hebrew race. In him the 
doctrine appears almost without a veil. " And he believed in the Lord, 
and he counted it to him for righteousness." 

The words of the text were pronounced on a very memorable occa- 
sion, — just after Abraham had shown the strength of his faith by offer- 
ing up, virtually, the child of promise. His faith had long been tried 
by waiting for the fulfilment of the promise, till, in the course of na- 
ture, it could no longer be expected. And then, when this his only 
son was growing up to youth, and He who gave him required that he 
should be offered in sacrifice, he nevertheless believed that the word 

3 



154 ALL NATIONS BLESSED IN [SEEMON LXXIX. 

of the Lord could not fail ; " accounting that God was able to raise 
him up, even from the dead." 

In honour of this faith the promise is repeated with greater expli- 
citness. "In thy seed," — thus surrendered to me, and now given 
back, — " in thy seed," — that is, in one eminent person to spring up 
from thy posterity, — " in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be 
blessed." 

Some, indeed, have interpreted these words as though they simply 
meant that the Gentile nations should derive great advantages from 
the preservation of true religion among the descendants of Abraham, 
and that it should spread from them among all people. Now, though 
this is true, yet it falls below the emphatic meaning of the text. The 
solemnity of the occasion on which the words were uttered will esta- 
blish this. They were spoken just after the patriarch, in intention, 
had offered up Isaac, and received him again from the dead "in a 
figure :" in a word, just after an exact representation of the death and 
resurrection of God's own beloved Son had been made to his faith. 
When his mind was filled with thoughts of the Messiah, then was it 
said to him, " In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." 
There must have been, therefore, a reference to Christ. And St. Paul, 
in his Epistle to the Galatians, puts the matter beyond doubt, and takes 
it out of the reach of all criticism. " Now, to Abraham and his seed 
were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many, but 
as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." The meaning of the 
text is, that in Christ, in the Messiah, who was to be born of the seed 
of Abraham, all nations shall be blessed. 

To this great promise, in which we and the whole world are inte- 
rested, we direct your attention. I shall consider, 

I. Some of the reasons for giving this description of the Messiah : 
" the seed of Abraham." 

1. Christ is called the seed of Abraham because he was to assume 
human nature ; to be truly man ; a man like ourselves. 

We cannot, indeed, doubt that even the text presents him to us under 
the aspect of Divinity, supreme and absolute Divinity ; for can it be 
said of any creature that all nations shall be blessed, made happy, in 
him ? A stream of blessing so large and copious can only issue from 
a source opened in the bosom of Divinity itself. Nevertheless, this 
Divine person was to be incarnated, to become the seed of Abraham; 
that is, man ; for so the apostle fixes its application ; the nature of 
angels in opposition to the seed of Abraham. What, then, was the 
great reason for the incarnation? Why must he who is so truly 
Divine take on him, not the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham ? 
He was thus " made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of 
death," " that through death he might depose him that had the power 
of death, even the devil." If, therefore, we are thus to connect the 
death of Christ with the expulsion from man of the powers of Satan 
and all the spirits of darkness, the conclusion is irresistible, that that 
death was no common death. It was sacrificial, opening to mankind, 
by virtue of its merit, its propitiating quality, the gates of eternal life. 
Let it be impressed on our hearts that not one of us could have been 
blessed, that none of the nations of the earth could have been blessed, 
unless Christ had died as a sacrifice for sin. The absolute necessity 



SERMON LXXIX.] THE SEED OP ABRAHAM. 155 

for this is very strongly, and by a most beautiful figure marked by our 
Lord. " Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die,"— ex- 
cept it undergo the process of vegetative dissolution, — "it abideth 
alone ; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." He spake this with 
reference to his own death. If Christ had not died, he would have 
abided alone in his kingdom ; his throne had never been surrounded by 
redeemed men and women, ascribing glory and dominion to " Him 
that loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood." 
No such song as this could have been heard in heaven ; he would 
have remained alone. But he died, and brings forth much fruit. Ever 
since, that fruit has been springing up, the fruit of blessedness from 
the grave of Christ. All our pardon, all our strength, all our sanctity, 
all our hope, have germinated from his death ; and continually are new 
blessings springing up, and spreading themselves over all the nations 
of the earth. 

2. Christ was called the seed of Abraham, that additional evidence 
of his claims as Messiah might be given when he came into the 
world. 

This was one great reason of this particular limitation of his descent. 
First, the promise was general. The seed of the woman is to bruise 
the serpent's head. This did not direct men to any particular family 
for the birth of their great Deliverer. But afterward it was limited 
to the family of Abraham ; and subsequently, farther limitations were 
declared, to the line of Isaac, to the family of Jacob, to the tribe of 
Judah, to the house of David. The ancients of the earth had not to 
say, " Lo, here is Christ, or, Christ is there." If he came at all, he 
was to appear in Palestine, and to be the seed of Abraham, of Isaac, 
of Jacob, of Judah, of David. And it is a circumstance worth note, 
that among all who have been born of woman since the beginning of 
the world, no other has ever pretended to be He in whom all nations 
were to be blessed. The false Christs among the Jews only proposed 
to deliver their own people, not to bless mankind. Of all these count- 
less millions no one but Jesus of Nazareth has ever claimed to be the 
person here promised ; and in him all the required marks meet. He 
was of the seed of Abraham, of the line of Isaac, of the family of 
Jacob, of the tribe of Judah, of the house and lineage of David. 

3. There is a third reason why he is called, why, in fact, he was 
made, the seed of Abraham. 

There is, after all, a peculiar relation between Christ and the Jews, 
as his brethren after the flesh. God has long been scattering blindness 
and pain upon Israel, but the hope of Israel is here. In the Old Tes- 
tament he is represented as the husband of his people ; and even of 
that adulterous generation he asks, " Where is the bill of your mother's 
divorcement ?" There is no ground to conclude that the covenant with 
Abraham has ever been finally dissolved, and therefore shall the sons 
of Jacob be again gathered. And let it be remembered, that Christ is 
the natural heir to the throne of David. The promise is, " I will give 
to him the throne of his father David, and he shall sit upon it ;" and 
by no allowable interpretation can that promise be applied to any 
thing short of such an acknowledgment of Christ, as was rendered to 
God under the Old Testament. Long, therefore, as the throne of 
David has been cast down, and dishonoured in the dust, it shall be 

2 



156 ALL NATIONS BLESSED IN [SEKMON LXXIX. 

reared up again ; reared up by the Son of David in the latter day, and 
he shall sit upon it, and rule his kingdom in righteousness and judg. 
ment. The Jews, converted to the faith of Christ, shall again be 
gathered, nor shall this excite any jealousy in the Gentile Church, to 
which even richer blessings shall then come ; " for if the casting away 
of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of 
them be, but life from the dead 1" 

II. Let us now consider the import of the declaration, "In thy seed 
shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." 

The great question here is, in what manner it was intended that the 
Messiah should thus convey a universal benefit ? Not, it should seem, 
by changing the order and character of the seasons, and rendering 
them more propitious. Not by removing the curse that has fallen on 
the earth in consequence of the transgression of the first man. Not 
by removing pain and sickness, and death, from the human race, the 
consequence of sin, and of Satan's malice. Not by communicating a 
scientific revelation in order to improve human intellect, and so to in- 
crease man's prosperity and happiness. Not directly, and in the first 
place, to communicate any blessing, merely temporal, to the nations of 
the earth. He had other and higher ends ; and for the discovery of 
these we shall not err in arguing from the past to the future. The 
promise, in its full extent, is not yet fulfilled. All nations are not yet 
blessed in Christ. For eighteen centuries he has been administering 
the mediatorial government, and blessing men by the exercise of mercy, 
and the communications of grace and truth. It is thus that both indivi- 
duals and nations have been already blessed ; and thus will he continue 
to execute his government till he has fully accomplished this declara- 
tion, And all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. 

I shall endeavour to illustrate the subject by considering, in the first 
place, what there is in the religion of Christ calculated to bless man- 
kind ; secondly, what Christianity has actually done in the promotion 
of human happiness ; and, thirdly, how this encourages our hopes as 
to the full and glorious accomplishment of the promise. First, we 
have observed that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is appointed to bless all 
nations by the communication of his religion to them. What is there, 
then, in that system of religion, by which mankind is thus to be blessed, 
adapted to this high purpose ? 

1. In the first place, there is its divinely revealed truth. 

Truth not resting upon the opinions of men, however just ; nor upon 
the investigations of human intellect, however acute and profound ; but 
upon the authority of the ever-blessed and infinitely wise God, who is 
all light, and in whom darkness and error can find no place. Now, 
religious truth is intimately connected with human happiness, because 
necessary to sound human morals. This observation, I allow, would 
be of no force, were we to admit the opinion that religious truth is 
matter of mere speculation, and that right sentiments were of no real 
importance. It has, indeed, been said, and is often repeated, 

" For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight, 
His can't be wrong whose life is in the right." 

I am no advocate for contending for faith by force. God never ap- 
pointed that men should fight for the faith, nor does he employ grace- 
2 



SERMON iXXIX.] THE SEED OF ABRAHAM. 157 

less zealots to promote his merciful plans among men : but that the 
principles which a right life involves may exist independently of a 
right faith, is, in fact, utterly false, and contradicted by all history. 
I shall not, however, meet this mistake by argument, but by the sim- 
ple exhibition of two undeniable facts. The first, that in proportion 
as the various nations of the earth turned from the original revelation 
of God did they become corrupt in their morals ; and as their igno- 
rance increased, so likewise did their depravity. The second, that 
wherever the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been preached, or, in other 
words, wherever the original revelation has been restored with all the 
additions it has since received from its great Author and Source, there 
have religious principles been implanted in the minds of thousands to 
whom they were before unknown, and to a large extent the whole 
mass of society has been moralized. In proportion to the spread of 
Divine truth has been the elevation of the moral standard. The rea- 
son of this is obvious. There is no authorized religious truth in the 
world, but in Christianity. All else is conjecture ; this only is sealed 
and authenticated by Heaven. And the whole of this truth is made 
to bear on holiness. Every doctrine, every precept, every applauded 
example, goes to this ; and both joys and terrors are brought from a 
future state to set the dictate home to every heart, that without holi- 
ness we cannot see the Lord. 

Behold, then, the first way in which the Seed of Abraham proposes 
to bless us, by opening to our contemplation the truths of his holy re- 
ligion. These Ave must read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest, or the 
promised happiness will never come into our experience. Behold, too, 
the manner in which he blesses the nations of the earth ; not by suf- 
fering them to remain in their ignorance, but by spreading among 
them, by the preaching of his Gospel, the truth which dissipates their 
polluting errors, destroys their superstitions, and spreads life and pu- 
rity all around. 

2. The religion of Christ is calculated to produce human happiness, 
because it exhibits the divinely prescribed method by which the guilty 
may obtain pardon ; in other words, that great doctrine of human 
hope and joy, that of justification by faith in the atonement and inter- 
cession of the Saviour. 

This is one of those interesting views which the great and inspired 
commentator, St. Paul, takes of this promise, and one of those mean- 
ings which he has taught us to find in it. So, in Galatians iii, 8, 9, 
he says, "And the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the hea- 
then through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, 
In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith 
are blessed with faithful Abraham." Now, the intimate connection 
between the doctrine of justification by faith and human happiness, 
may be made out in few words. Lay it down as an undoubted prin- 
ciple, that every man on earth feels himself to be a sinner. In health, 
and in the occupations and enjoyments of the world, he may forget 
this ; but in the hour of solitude, and under the pressure of calamity 
and sickness, and the near approaches of death, the feeling is anew 
wakened up, and produces the most gloomy apprehensions of the future. 
The comment we have on this, in the case of the heathen, is extremely 
affecting. All nations have had their methods of propitiation, because 

2 



158 ALL NATIONS BLESSED Itf [SERMON LXXIX. 

they have had a sense of guilt, and an apprehension of danger ; but 
their propitiations had no authority, and therefore they could yield no 
peace. On the contrary, the absence of the doctrine to which we now 
refer, because of the rejection of former revelations, — the want of in- 
formation where they may find a sacrifice of sufficient efficacy to wash 
away their guilt, a blood of sufficient sanctity to obliterate every pol- 
luting stain, — has led to abominations and miseries innumerable. To 
this are we to ascribe their long pilgrimages and torturing penances ; 
to this, the human sacrifices, and other sanguinary rites which have 
in all ages stained the polluted altars of the Gentile world, and which 
still abound in heathen countries to an extent at which the humanity 
of Christians stands aghast. Because they had lost this great truth, 
they fell into all those gloomy superstitions which, by a natural reac- 
tion on their own minds, rendered them callous in their feelings, hate- 
ful, and hating one another. And thus may the greatest miseries that 
have afflicted the nations of the earth be traced up to their original 
rejection of that grand doctrine, that God pardons the guilty through 
faith in the great Sacrifice which he himself has appointed. how 
cheering was it to yourselves, when oppressed with the " conscience of 
sins," to be told of salvation, not by your own works of righteousness, 
for you felt you had none, but by the mercy of God through the atone- 
ment of his Son ; to hear those comfortable words of your Saviour 
Christ, " Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I 
will give you rest !" You have not to ask, " Wherewith shall I come be- 
fore the Lord ? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams ?" The 
true propitiation is set forth. No heavy penalty, no toilsome pilgrimage, 
no torturing pains, are laid on thee. Thy sins were borne by thine incar- 
nate Saviour ; and if thou art truly penitent, but this one command is 
laid on thee, " Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." 
Great shall be the joy of those broken hearts, those agonized spirits, 
in the suffering nations of the earth, when the veil of their moral blind, 
ness shall be rent, and the messengers of peace shall exclaim, " Be- 
hold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." 

3. In farther examining this Divine system, to discover its adapta- 
tion to human happiness, we find the great, the singular, promise of 
the Holy Spirit. 

For, including this, also, in the blessing of which the text speaks, I 
have the authority of St. Paul, who, in the epistle already cited, has 
these words : " That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gen- 
tiles through Jesus Christ ; that we might receive the promise of the 
Spirit through faith." I have just called this a singular gift ; and so 
it is ; for, however our familiarity with this promise, in its various 
branches, may have prevented us from making the reflection, yet it is 
an idea, a hope, a privilege, peculiar to the dispensations of the true 
religion, and is found in no false one. There have been false 
Christs ; and some of them were distinguished by the range of their 
imagination, or the acuteness of their intellectual research ; but none 
of them, none who ever professed to give a religion to man, either 
raised his own thoughts, or the thoughts of his disciples, to a promise 
like this, the characteristic and glory of the Christian dispensation. 
It is the great promise of the Father ; and he himself to whom it refers 
is styled "that Holy Spirit of promise." 
2 



SERMON LXXIX.] THE SEED OP ABRAHAM. 159 

Consider, for a moment, what this gift includes ; and you will admit 
without hesitation, that that system through which it is imparted is 
indeed adapted, by the boundless mercy of God, to bless all the families 
of the earth. Wherever Christianity is preached, and its institutions 
are set up, there, — for Christianity is eminently the dispensation of 
the Spirit, — there all these institutions are surrounded as by an atmo- 
sphere of Divine light and power. Wherever the Gospel is preached, 
there is the Holy Spirit, moving and acting upon the heart, putting 
man into a capacity to hear with profit, leading him to think of his way, 
and to turn to God. By him are our understandings enlightened ; by 
him, the wishes of our heart directed to things spiritual and Divine. 
He is the Spirit of repentance and prayer, and then the Spirit of faith ; 
taking of the things of Christ, and showing them to us, and enabling 
us to repose an entire trust in the great sacrificial offering for sin. 
He is the Spirit of adoption, witnessing pardon to our conscience, and 
changing us from glory to glory, till we are meet for the inheritance 
of the saints in light. 

what a blessing is this ! God, sending forth the Spirit of his Son 
into our hearts ! Upon many of you this blessing of Abraham has 
already come. That inward peace which you feel, those hopes in 
which you indulge, that strength by which you conquer evil, and con- 
tinue in the performance of duty, are all so many comments on the 
text. And you have here one of the most powerful motives to induce 
you to labour for the universal spread of the Gospel. Wherever that 
Gospel goes, it is the same ministration of the Spirit. 

4. Another adaptation to human happiness in Christianity is found 
in its explicit enforcement of those relative duties on which the wel- 
fare of society so much depends. 

1 select this particular class, because I think it must be obvious to 
every man of understanding and reflection, that, from the want of a 
clear and exact statement of the duties included in it, and especially 
from the want of sanction to them, even to the limited extent in which 
they had been ascertained, no small misery has been spread over the 
nations of the earth. I confess that when I consider the manner in 
which this sacred book provides for the regulation of human conduct 
in social life, I am so deeply impressed with its divinity, that, putting 
all other arguments out of sight, this alone would make a strong appeal 
to my faith. If any person had been required to say how many volumes 
would have been necessary to point out the various duties which man 
owes to man ; how extensive the code which should have recognized 
every relation, and met every case ; the natural answer would have 
been, " I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books 
that should be written." But, with majestic simplicity, with the effi- 
ciency of an all-comprehending wisdom, it is here done in a few pages. 
The duties are ascertained with an adaptation to all countries, times, and 
circumstances ; and they are all stated with the highest and most com- 
manding sanctions. Kings here learn lessons of just and gracious rule ; 
subjects, of respect and obedience. The foundations of all wise juris- 
prudence are found here ; nor is there a general principle of truly en- 
lightened legislation which does not flow from this source. Commands 
of moderation and equity to masters, and of conscientious honesty and 
submission to servants, have here their place. Parental tenderness is 

2 



160 ALL NATIONS BLESSED IN [SERMON LXXIX. 

here divinely blended with parental authority ; and, on the conjugal 
relation, made so sacred, so hallowed, in the religion of Christ, all the 
strength of moral obligation, and the elevating sentiments of piety, are 
added to the tender affections of our nature, strengthening, and making 
them permanent. And where a particular precept may be wanting, 
still in no case need we err, as even here we have the guiding light 
of some great principle. 

Perhaps there is some particular meaning in the expressions first 
addressed to Abraham : " In thee shall all the families of the earth be 
blessed." The heathen world at no time presented a spectacle so 
instructive and delightful as that of a well-ordered Christian family. I 
never visit a family regulated on the principles of' the Gospel without 
the most powerful and pleasing impressions. The heathen world, I 
repeat, never witnessed a spectacle so sacred, so peaceful, so dignified, 
so much resembling every thing that is delightful in heaven, as that 
of a Christian family, governed by the laws of Jesus Christ. Happy 
will it be for the world when all its families are thus governed. 

Between this view of the religion of Christ, and the happiness of 
the nations of the earth, you will see the connection. Suppose every 
throne established in the righteousness of the Gospel, and adorned with 
its mercy ; all subjects affectionately obedient, obeying not for wrath, 
but for conscience' sake ; all masters thus just and equal, and all sub- 
jects discharging thus their duty ; the relations of husband and wife, 
parent and child, thus hallowed and sustained ; — suppose all this, and 
you see what both reaches and removes the greater portion of human 
misery. Suppose all this, and you have only to add the removal of 
disease and death, to make earth the very image and likeness of 
heaven. 

5. The last of these adaptations is, the kind and merciful spirit of 
the Gospel. 

Had we time, we might dwell long upon this. In every page the 
benignant spirit breaks forth in commands that injuries be forgiven, 
malice and hatred put away, and our enemies prayed for and loved. 
But I will confine myself to only one topic selected from many, — that 
of kindness to the poor. In no false religion has there been any 
direct provision for this. O no ! It was left to the Seed of Abraham 
to introduce a religion which should set itself directly, and with all the 
sanctions of eternity, against unkindness, and oppression, and slavery ; 
and open the door of mercy to every creature under heaven. This is 
very strikingly illustrated by facts. Every traveller who has visited 
the ruins of the distinguished cities of Grecian or Roman states, has 
been anxious to copy the inscriptions found on fragments of columns, 
and other relics of public buildings. In these ruins they have found 
the splendid remains of amphitheatres, and temples, and palaces, and 
mausoleums, and triumphal arches ; but on no fragment has an inscrip- 
tion yet been found telling us that that fragment belonged to an hospi- 
tal, or any institution for the supply of human want, or the removal of 
human misery. And there is another important fact, which strikingly 
marks the Gospel as being essentially the religion of mercy. I mean 
that this character has been retained in the midst of error and per- 
version. Even where its doctrines have been corrupted, and its simple 
yet impressive worship almost exterminated by the inventions of men, 
2 



SERMON LXXIX.] THE SEED OF ABRAHAM. 161 

yet, even in these ages of darkness and corruption, and even oppres- 
sive persecution, it never lost its character for mercy. The vital pulse 
was not extinct ; and that ever beat to the voice of distress. This is 
only to be accounted for by the strength of the original impression, kept 
up by the discourses that told to the heart, in tones of tenderness, of 
the sufferings and sorrows of Christ, and called men to love and help 
each other, because He who was rich had, for their sakes, become 
poor, that they through his poverty might be rich. 

Thus viewing the character and tendencies of the Gospel of Jesus 
Christ, I ask you, whether, when this Gospel shall be communicated 
to all nations, it shall not be an instrument and source of happiness to 
them all? 

Secondly. What I have to say on the next point, that this blessing 
has already been conferred, in no inconsiderable degree, on a large 
portion of mankind, must necessarily be brief; but it must not be 
passed over, because it meets what might otherwise be regarded as an 
objection. It might be asked, Is not all that has been said rather a 
splendid theory addressed to our hope, than a description of any 
thing actually realized ? Eighteen centuries have passed away since 
the Seed of Abraham came to bless the nations of the earth ; and, 
during their course, what has been done 1 What benefits have been 
conferred on those nations that have received this religion as derived 
from him 1 This is a question that must be answered, though I cannot 
now dwell upon it at full length. But, before I answer it, I must at 
least advert in passing to the spiritual blessings which come upon 
mankind through the Seed of Abraham. " He is the propitiation for 
the sins of the whole world." The actual results of this in the salva- 
tion of men is a subject on which, at present, we know but in part. 
Perhaps John, when looking at the multitude of them who were 
redeemed from the earth, looked to a period not much posterior to our 
own ; and he says that these redeemed ones were a multitude which 
no man could count ; so that the voice which he heard from heaven 
was as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder. 
And forget not how large a portion of the human race die young ; and 
for all children dying before the years of accountableness, Christianity 
declares that a provision has been made. Yes. The Seed of Abra- 
ham has provided for all those who break away without a contest ; he 
takes them into a world in which all their powers shall be developed, 
and in which they shall remain the, children of God for ever. This is 
the reason assigned by Christ himself that we are not to despise one 
of these little ones, " For I say unto you, that in heaven their angels," 
their disembodied spirits, " do always behold the face of my Father 
which is in heaven." Let every mother who has consigned her infant 
to an early tomb hear this, and be comforted. 

But to return to the temporal condition of men. And when we ask 
what Christianity has done to promote human happiness, considered 
under this aspect, we are not to forget that as yet it has but a very 
limited application even in what are called Christian countries. The 
name is borne, but the full system is very partially either received or 
applied. But then this strengthens our argument. If it can be shown 
that even under this limited application of Christian truth, to whatever 
nation the Christian religion comes, it brings unnumbered blessings of 
Vol. II. 11 



162 ALL NATIONS BLESSED IN [SERMON LXXIX. 

no ordinary character, then may Ave justly entertain the most delight- 
ful anticipations as to the result of a full and faithful communication, 
and an unrestricted reception of Christianity, among all the nations 
of the earth. 

Limited as I am on this subject, which itself might occupy many 
discourses, perhaps the most effectual way of bringing it before you 
will be to take one of the proudest, most polished, and intelligent 
nations of antiquity, and bring a few points of its moral and civil con- 
dition into comparison with nations as yet but imperfectly Chris- 
tianized. This surely is fair. We give you Rome, imperial Rome, 
in all her pomp and power, all her science and refinement, on the one 
hand ; and on the other, our European nations, whose Gothic rust is 
not yet all burnished off, and through which, as the leaven of Chris, 
tianity is but imperfectly spread, the effects of Christianity are but 
partially developed. 

Consider the Roman empire in its relation to other states. A more 
unjust, aggressive, and ferocious power was never permitted to scourge 
the earth. Almost all their wars were grossly iniquitous : and Daniel 
described their oppressive rule with the accuracy of an historian, as 
the " fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly ; and 
it had great iron teeth : it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped 
the residue with the feet of it." Partially as Christianity has influenced 
the nations that have received it, yet never has Christendom reared 
and fostered a power at once so subtle, rapacious, and merciless. The 
temple of Janus in Rome, which was always open in time of war, was 
shut but thrice, and that only for very short intervals, in seven hundred 
and twenty-six years. And war itself, awfully common as it has been, 
has had its rugged aspect softened by Christianity. Its carnage in 
ancient times was horrible ; and the vanquished who fell were far 
happier than they who survived, and who were usually doomed to 
cold-blooded massacre, or perpetual slavery. The first Christian em- 
peror, Constantine, imperfect as his Christianity might be, had yet 
learned mercy from the Gospel. He commanded his soldiers to have 
mercy on their prisoners, and offered ransom for those whom they 
preserved. And there is a public act in our own modern annals which 
deserves note. The distinguished general who defended Gibraltar 
received the thanks of both the English and Irish parliament for his 
great humanity to the enemy. Such a public record cannot be paral- 
leled in any heathen state that ever existed. A Greek writer and 
warrior expressed but the common sentiment when he said, that " to 
glut our souls with the cruellest vengeance upon our enemies, is the 
most exquisite pleasure that the human mind can taste." 

Go to their seats of law and judgment. And to give you a speci- 
men : in the celebrated law of the twelve tables there was a provision 
respecting the insolvent debtor, that, after sixty days' imprisonment, 
whatever the circumstances of the case might be, the principal creditor 
might put him to death, and dividing the body into as many pieces as 
there were creditors, send each a share of" his victim. And even 
where the law was good, the execution was uncertain or bad. Their 
courts of justice presented a continual scene of open and undisguised 
iniquity ; and the unhappy man who had not the means of bribing the 
judges was sure to have their decision against him. 
3 



SERMON LXXIX.] THE SEED OF ABRAHAM. 163 

Look at the mass of the people : they were in a state of slavery, the 
absolute property of stern and lawless masters. It was not uncommon 
for a Roman citizen to have several thousands of slaves. The porter 
at the gate was a slave in chains. The men who tilled the fields tilled 
them in chains. The master had the power of life and death, and of 
torture, which he often inflicted for his own amusement. Against this 
horrid system our Divine religion at once set itself; first to mitigate 
the condition of the slave, and then to release him from his chain ; 
and, after a long contest, brought the system of domestic slavery to a 
close. What an act of homage was paid to Christianity whenever, 
according to ancient custom, slaves were liberated at the altar, as an 
act well pleasing to God, who has made of one blood all nations, and 
by one Saviour has redeemed all ! 

Then there are their public sports and games. These too remind 
us of the blessings conferred by Christianity in delivering nations from 
the ferocity of heathenism. You have heard how usual it was to 
assemble men together in their theatres to fight with each other till 
one or both was slain. But have you reflected on the extent to which 
this systematic delight in blood and murder was carried? These 
games for the amusement of the Roman people, of even the tenderer 
sex too, frequently occasioned the sacrifice of twenty thousand lives ! 
These were at length abolished, but it was by the decree of a Christian 
emperor. 

Let us look into their domestic circle ; and even there did the dia- 
bolical spirit of paganism intrude, filling almost every house with dis- 
cord and cruelty. In almost every case the husband was the harsh 
tyrant, the wife the degraded slave, to be divorced on the most trivial 
occasions. Even in what are called the purest ages of Greece and 
Rome, female infants might be put to death ; and any, whether male 
or female, if sickly or deformed. The first Christian emperor checked 
the practice by ordering all children abandoned by their parents to be 
kept at the public charge ; and the mercy of the Gospel triumphed at 
last by its entire suppression. 

And, finally, for we cannot enlarge on this awful detail, look at some 
of their most lauded characters. Nothing, indeed, shocks one so much, 
nothing so much shows by what a low and debased standard the Romans 
determined what is virtuous and vicious, as the praises bestowed upon 
some of the most detestable wretches that ever bore the human form. 
Many instances might be given, but one must suffice. All their writ- 
ers are lavish in the praise of Titus ; the mild, the merciful Titus ; the 
very darling of mankind, as he was called. And yet the cruelties ex- 
ercised by him upon the conquered Jews are almost incredible. In 
the war which terminated in the capture of Jerusalem, almost a million 
and a half of Jews were slain, and the remainder were sold as slaves. 
Eleven thousand were suffered to die of hunger ; countless numbers 
were slain in the public spectacles he exhibited ; and in one city, in 
one day, fifteen hundred in honour of his brother's birth day. He was 
the great instrument, most certainly, in the hands of Providence, for 
the punishment of a wicked race ; but the shame and guilt of his cruelty 
remain on his own head. If such were the saints of pagan Rome, 
what, then, were her devils ? Remember, too, that this power once 
extended over all Europe ; and that under such influences, still farther 

2 



164 ALL NATIONS BLESSED, ETC. [SEEMON LXXIX. 

embruted by Gothic barbarity, but for Christianity, we should have 
continued to this day. O thanks to the Seed of Abraham who has 
saved us from these scenes of blood ! Thanks to him that we have 
not our mourning fathers, and mothers, and children, weeping for their 
slain ! Thanks to him for the peace in which we dwell in this land 
of light and mercy ! And thanks to him for all spiritual blessings ; for 
the gift of the Holy Ghost : for his Sabbaths and ordinances ; for a 
happiness which can only terminate with immortality and eternity ! 

I proposed lastly, to show you how all this went to encourage our 
desires and hopes for the full and glorious accomplishment of the de- 
claration, that in the Seed of Abraham all nations of the earth should 
be blessed. But here time warns me to be brief. 

How much even Christian nations need the full and effectual blessing 
of the Seed of Abraham is so manifest that, while we rejoice in what 
has been done, we are called, by every consideration of piety and pa- 
triotism, to be more earnest and diligent for the triumphant spread of 
religion, in all its truth and power, throughout Christendom. But 
when we look into the regions beyond, where Christ is not named, how 
pressing do the wants of the people appear ! Has the Gospel truth 1 
And do they not need it ? Look at the fact, that the idea of God, 
Creator, Preserver, Ruler, and Judge, is absent from their mind. Has 
it the promise of pardon ? Let theft 1 vain attempts to propitiate ima- 
ginary deities by torturing penances plead their cause with us. 
draw aside the veil ; and, with an emphasis becoming those who feel 
they have themselves obtained mercy, cry to them, " Behold the Lamb 
of God, which taketh away the sin of the world !" Has it the promise 
of the Holy Spirit 1 Do they not need that ? Behold their millions 
" dead in trespasses and sins !" What shall give them life but the 
breath of God ? When he breathes upon these slain, then shall they 
live. Behold them obdurate, worldly ; their hearts the seat of every 
impure and cruel passion. What can meet their wants but the Spirit 
of holiness ? What an assemblage of graces follows in his train ! 
There is love, and joy, and peace, gentleness, goodness, meekness, 
temperance : graces, these, whose existence no heathen heart feels, 
whose manifestation and prevalence no heathen land exhibits. Have 
we a Divine rule which marks right and wrong, and especially enforces 
all the lovely and peaceful duties of social life ? And is it not needed 
by them ? The very idea of virtue seems to have faded from their 
mind, and all is confusion and wretchedness. Send its precepts to 
their judges, and teach them justice ; to the people, and teach them 
peace and mutual love. Soften the cruel master. Give consolation 
and freedom to the slave. Say to their widows, " Thy Maker is thy 
husband." Throw the shield of affectionate justice before their or- 
phans, and shelter them from oppression and ruin. In the bosoms of 
husbands and wives raise that true affection which alone can consecrate 
their union. Give the dignity of virtue to paternal command ; and 
teach the mother not to " forget her sucking child ;" teach her to have 
compassion on the son of her womb. Is our Gospel embodied mercy? 
Does it continually present the affecting spectacle of the love of a era- 
cified Saviour ; the softened, entendering scenes of his generous suf- 
ferings in our stead ? O send it abroad ! That only can quench the 
hell of malice, revenge, and uncharitableness, by the constant moral 
2 



SEHMON LXXX.] ME DAY OF VISITATION. 165 

which it furnishes : " Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to 
love one another." For heathenism retains its indestructible character 
of cruelty. Witness the massacres and cannibalism of the South Seas. 
Witness the sanguinary superstitions of Africa, in some nations more 
destructive even than their wars. Witness the infanticide of China 
and India ; the burning of widows, both in the tender bloom of youth, 
and the venerable dignity of declining years. But follow them into 
another world. O heart-rending thought ! For, speculate as we may, 
I see it recorded in this sacred page, " Be not deceived ; neither for- 
nicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor 
drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of 
God." Send them the Gospel which shall tell them that Christ, hav- 
ing "overcome the sharpness of death, has opened the kingdom of 
heaven to all believers." 

Yes, in the Seed of Abraham, in the great Deliverer, the nations 
shall be truly and richly blessed. His truth shall shine forth, and 
spread its sublime scenes to the gaze of an adoring world. Every 
where shall his salvation be proclaimed. The influences of his Spirit, 
like the refreshing light and air of the morning, shall cover the whole 
earth. In him shall all the families of the earth be blessed, and de- 
lightful spectacles of social harmony be displayed in every land. The 
flow of jiuman blood shall be stayed by him. Over the regions of 
misery he shall pursue his march of mercy, raising the fallen, liberating 
the captive, breathing his peace and purity into every heart, and col- 
lecting every where the voices of grateful nations into one loud and 
deserved acclaim : " Our Redeemer is strong ; the Lord of hosts is 
his name." All nations shall be blessed in him : " All nations shall 
call him blessed." 



Seemon LXXX. — The Day of Visitation. 



" If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which 
belong unto thy peace ! but now they are hid from thine eyes," Luke xix, 42. 

Our Lord " came unto his own, but his own received him not." 
For ages had the Jews been looking for the Messiah ; and now that 
he comes to them, they hide their faces from him, and esteem him not. 
And this was too much the case throughout the whole course of his 
public life. You would have expected more than a hundred and twenty 
disciples after a four years' ministry ; but so it was. In Jerusalem 
especially he was treated with hostility and obloquy. There he had 
preached his most affecting sermons ; wrought there, or in the neigh- 
bourhood, some of his most stupendous miracles ; there silenced cap- 
tious objectors. Yet all failed to penetrate hearts encrusted with the 
love of the world, or to convince men determined not to renounce their 
errors. But these base actions did not extinguish the compassions of 
his heart. He was now going up to Jerusalem for the last time ; and 
when he drew near to the city, he wept over it, and said, "If thou 
hadst known, even thou ;" a passionate form of expression, implying 
the most earnest desire, — that thou hadst known ! " but now they 

2 



166 THE DAT OF VISITATION. [SEEMON 1.XXX. 

are hid from thine eyes ;" already hidden by thine own perverseness, 
and about to be hidden from them judicially. 

These words are left on record for our solemn meditation ; and, that 
I may assist your thoughts, let me point out the three great subjects 
which the text sets before us. 

I. The doctrine of Christ, rejected by the Jews, is that which, in 
the most emphatic sense, belongs to our peace. 

II. The time in which it is proposed to us is, our day, our day of 
visitation. 

III. The case of those who neglect the opportunity thus afforded 
them is one of deep and painful commiseration. 

I. The Jews rejected the doctrine of Christ, and in so doing rejected 
their true peace. 

It was for this that they were punished, and that the wrath came 
upon them to the uttermost. The same takes place in our own day. 
It is the same doctrine that is rejected, and, with it, the things that 
belong to our peace. It will not be difficult to show that every part 
of the doctrine of Christ which the Jews rejected is of this character. 

1. He proposed to them no temporal blessings, and they were of- 
fended in him. 

They looked for a kingdom, and he brought them one of righteous, 
ness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. They panted for power, and 
he promised a moral dominion over their own passions. They thirsted 
for conquests over their enemies, and he presented to their view no 
trophies but those won from the powers of darkness, and a regenerated 
world. They grasped at wealth, and he held out to them the inherit- 
ance of heaven. These spiritual blessings they contemned, and, along 
with them, the Messiah by whom they were offered. Yet, how fatal 
was their mistake ! Not those things which they sought, but those 
they rejected, belonged to their peace. For had Christ endowed them 
with all they desired, peace and they had still been strangers. The 
world cannot give felicity to an unsanctified nature. A pure and devout 
mind may extract good from it, and make the creature a scale to the 
Creator ; but where that is not, there is no peace. Power converts 
men into tyrants ; riches become the instruments of vice ; health but 
gives vigour to corrupting passions ; and every unholy affection, thus 
ripened into maturity, under the fostering suns of prosperity, only serves 
to keep a heavier load upon the conscience, and quicken the fears by 
louder alarms of death and judgment. 

2. Our Lord taught the doctrine of salvation by faith in himself; 
as shedding his blood for the remission of sins. 

This they rejected, as many do now, but they thus rejected that 
which belonged to their peace. He who seeks justification through 
the law, only increases his misery in proportion to his sincerity. The 
more he knows of the law, the clearer is the light in which he must 
view his own transgressions against it, his failures of exact obedience, 
and the threatened penalty of death. When the commandment comes, 
sin revives, and he dies. The only doctrine that can lead us to peace 
is that of Christ. He teaches us that we are saved by mercy ; mercy 
manifested in his own sacrifice. Faith in his blood brings the soul to 
a repose never known before. There is then the peace of God which 
passeth all understanding. 
2 



SERMON LXXX.] THE DAY OF VISITATION. 167 

3. Our Lord taught the spiritual worship of God ; another offensive 
doctrine to formalists in all ages. 

With them, the regular observance of forms is in itself a meritori- 
ous service, and sufficient to invest a man with a character of merit 
and worth. The Jews were deeply involved in this error, and they 
were told that all this was but as nothing ; that their goodly show was 
but vanity and sin. They rejected the humbling doctrine, and with 
it they rejected their peace. For, brethren, what is lip-service either 
to God or to us ? What a wretched emptiness do all merely outward 
services leave in the mind ! What is prayer without desire ; praise 
without love ; spirituality on the tongue, and a deadening worldliness 
in the heart 1 Spiritual worship alone is the mother of a peaceful 
mind. When God is approached as a Father ; when the incense of 
praise is cast into the fire which love kindles upon the altar of the 
heart, and which is tended night and day that, like the fire of the 
sanctuary, it may never go out ; when the soul that seeks God finds 
him, and prayer, humbly but pleadingly, takes hold upon the Angel, 
and says, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me" then do we 
find high and holy exercises suited to our nature ; things, in a word, 
which belong to our peace. 

4. Finally : our Lord taught that religion was a practical thing, an 
affair of the heart and the life. 

The Jews, like many in our own day, placed it in outward privileges 
and forms ; and they rejected, with bitter hatred, the doctrine which 
led them into the state of their own hearts, that, by purifying these, 
all practical purity might follow. And yet, my brethren, see we not 
that then only can religion belong to our peace, when considered in 
the light in which our Lord placed it ? What is there to promote our 
peace in a name, whether it be Jew or whether it be Christian ? What 
is a son of Abraham without the faith of Abraham ? a professor of 
Christ, without the spirit of Christ ? So far is this from being a source 
of peace, that it is an aggravation of our guilt, and will finally heighten 
the emphasis of our condemnation. No. The source of peace can 
only be found in the religion of the heart ; that which unites all the 
powers of judgment, memory, conscience, principle, and affection to 
God, and thus places them all under a sanctifying influence ; that 
which purifies every thing outward, by purifying the principle in which 
it originates ; that which produces words, not of imitative piety, but 
seasoned with grace, and bright with truth ; actions, not of affected 
sanctity, but of sober worth, rooted in principle, and diffusing the na- 
tural fragrance which belongs to them. That God may approve of 
our religion, it must be pure and undefiled before him. We must walk 
with him, if we would have the testimony that we please him, and the 
sacred peace and joy which flow from it. 

Sum up these things, my brethren, and be persuaded that the bless- 
ings offered by Christ to the Jews, and now offered to ourselves, are 
the things which, in the most emphatic sense, belong to your peace. 
He feeds not the dangerous appetite of the soul for earthly things by 
the offer of worldly good, but establishes his covenant upon better 
promises. He shed his blood for you and for many for the remission 
of sins, and he offers you this great result. He opens a way of access 
to your prayers, and renders them prevalent by his own intercession. 

2 



168 THE DAY OF VISITATION. [SERMON LXXX, 

He places himself before you as your Redeemer from the tyranny of 
your sins, the world, and Satan. He begins and carries on to comple- 
tion the great process of renewal in the heart, sheds abroad there his 
vital, sanctifying consolations, familiarizes the spirit of man to com- 
munion with God, and thus prepares him for that endless salvation in 
which the great work of redemption issues. I appeal to you, whether 
these be not the things which belong to your peace. 

II. The time in which this heavenly, saving doctrine is proposed to 
us is our " day," the day of our visitation. 

The reason of this expression is, that at such times the best and 
most favourable opportunity of salvation is afforded ; and that, if these 
seasons are neglected, a punishment will follow, proportioned to the 
guilt. In this sense, days of special visitation are granted both to na- 
tions and to individuals. 

1. To nations. 

Thus had the Jews their day of visitation ; nor did a brighter ever 
shine upon any people. The Son of God was incarnated among them, 
and appeared, surrounded with all the evidences of his Divine mission. 
The prophecies were all fulfilled in him. He was born of a virgin, 
and spoke to them as never man spoke. Ey his wonderful works were 
the words of Isaiah accomplished, " Then the eyes of the blind shall 
be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the 
lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing." Yet they 
rejected him ; nor could even the prodigies of the crucifixion reprove 
them for their horrid deed. The darkened sun and trembling earth 
could make a Roman centurion exclaim, " Truly this was the Son of 
God ;" but not the harder nature of Pharisees and hypocrites. 

But their " day" did not close there. There were the wonders of 
pentecost, and the preaching of the apostles, and the miracles which 
accompanied it. "Ah!" you ask, "how could they not believe?" 
And some infidels have even argued that, had the works really 
been wrought among them, they must have believed. They know 
not the mystery of iniquity, nor the perverseness of the human heart. 
As great a wonder occurs daily, perhaps even among yourselves. 
They saw, and did not believe ; you believe, and neither love nor 
obey. Which is the greater mystery? The same causes were in 
operation then as now ; even the love of sin, and the deluding spirit 
of the world. 

All the Gentile nations, to whom the Gospel was preached on its 
rejection by the Jews, had their day of visitation. They had been 
suffered, for many reasons which it becomes not us to scrutinize, to 
walk for many ages in their own ways ; but, doubtless, among those 
reasons, in awful punishment for the rejection of former light. They 
did not like to retain God in their knowledge, and therefore were they 
given up to their own follies. But in wrath, mercy was remembered. 
No prophet had appeared among them for ages. No ambassador from 
heaven had been sent to them. They had had no vision of holy things. 
But now their day of visitation comes, and men, sent of God, " go 
every where, preaching the word ;" the word of life, the Gospel of 
Jesus the Saviour, the tidings of universal atonement, and of the pro- 
mise to all founded upon it. Ambassadors for Christ visit them, 
authenticate their mission by miracles, and pray them, in Christ's 



SERMON LXXX.] THE DAY OF VISITATION. 169 

stead, to be reconciled to God. Glorious was the visitation ; but with 
it in their case too, came the awful responsibility. 

We, as a nation, are now in the very height of our gracious visita- 
tion. This is eminently our day. Early Christianity was but par- 
tially diffused among us ; and when it became more general, it was 
mingled with great superstition. The time of the reformation from 
popery was indeed a merciful visitation, and so were some subsequent 
periods ; but the mass of the people were ignorant and barbarous,, 
without the Scriptures, and without the ability to read them. The 
case is altered now. Our own day is distinguished by four things, — 
the general preaching of the Gospel ; the diffusion of the Holy Scrip- 
tures, with ability to read them ; the outpouring of Divine influence ; 
and the exertions of spiritual people throughout the land, furnishing 
living comments upon the truth. O Britain, thou art indeed planted 
a noble vine ! This is the accepted time, the day of visitation, with 
thee. that thou mayest know, even thou, in this thy day, the things 
which belong unto thy peace ; and that they may never be hidden from 
thine eyes ! 

2. But individuals, also, have their special seasons of visitation, 
which may be emphatically called their " day." 

There is our youth. Who can look into the circumstances of many 
of our young people without seeing in them the marks of a special 
day of visitation ? They are taught the Scriptures, and instructed in 
their meaning ; they live under the influence of pious parents, are 
habituated to religious ordinances, and familiar with conversations on 
the deep things of God. They can scarcely recollect a time when 
some sweet influence of the Holy Spirit was not moving their hearts ; 
scarcely a day has passed but they have experienced some check, or 
some gracious drawing. O, this is indeed your day ! I will not say, 
that you shall not have others, if you sinfully neglect this ; but you 
will have none so bright, none so favourable. Now you are " sweetly 
ignorant of ill." Corrupt nature is not yet formed into sinful habits. 
You are not yet familiar with the sad acts of self-delusion, by which, 
at a subsequent period, you may be deceived and hardened. Should 
you ever be converted at a later period, after many acts of vice, or at 
least of carelessness, you will have a hard spiritual warfare with pol- 
luted imaginations ; with shadows of remaining error, darkening the 
judgment ; with strong habits, easily reassuming their former power 
over you. You may be saved ; but it will be with greater difficulty. 
Perhaps you will not be saved at all. O, young people, know the day 
of your gracious visitation. 

Different persons will likewise be found, individually, to have their 
times of special visitation, their day. Here is one who comes from a 
part of the country where religious means are not so abundant, and has 
his lot cast in the midst of plenty. Here is one who is brought into 
more immediate connection with pious people, and who sees their holy 
lives and peaceful deaths ; one whom God visits with awakenings un- 
der some particular discourse or ministry ; one who is visited by 
afflictions and trials. Many are the circumstances which bring the 
things that belong to our peace warmly to our thoughts and to our hearts. 
Then is our day. Then is the hand of thy God upon thee for good. 
Know thou these things ; know them really ; know them practically. 

2 



170 THE DAY OF VISITATION. [SERMON LXXX. 

III. The case of those who neglect these opportunities is a subject 
of deep and painful commiseration. So was it to our Lord ; and so, 
in the more limited degree in which we can love and feel, it ought to 
be to us. 

1. The Jews are an instance of this. 

Our Lord looked upon the miseries of Judea and Jerusalem in pros- 
pect ; to us they are an historical reality. And when we remember 
the terrible siege of Jerusalem by the Romans ; the expulsion of her 
inhabitants ; the proud mockery of her enemies ; and the persecutions 
of those who have borne a name, once so venerable, but now so hated ; — 
when we mark how applicable to this second destruction is the pathetic 
lamentation of Jeremiah's eloquence of wo, "How hath the Lord 
covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down 
from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not 
his footstool in the day of his anger ! The Lord hath swallowed up 
all the habitations of Jacob, and hath not pitied : he hath thrown down 
in his wrath the strong holds of the daughter of Judah ; he hath 
brought them down to the ground : he hath polluted the kingdom and 
the princes thereof. The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhor- 
red his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the 
walls of her palaces ; they have made a noise in the house of the 
Lord, as in the day of a solemn feast. Her gates are sunk into the 
ground ; he hath destroyed and broken her bars : her king and her 
princes are among the Gentiles : the law is no more ; her prophets also 
find no vision from the Lord. All that pass by clap their hands at 
thee ; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, say- 
ing, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, the joy of 
the whole earth ?" Lam. ii, 1, 2, 7, 9, 15 ; — when we recollect all this, 
we may join in the words of our weeping Lord, " O that thou hadst 
known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong 
unto thy peace !" Think, then, O thou that despisest the day of thy 
visitation, what shall the end be of all that obey not the Gospel of 
God! 

2. The people among whom the primitive Churches were planted 
afford another affecting instance. 

They show that God is no respecter of persons. " To them that are 
contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indig- 
nation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that 
doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile." This the apostle 
makes the subject of solemn admonition : " Behold, therefore, the 
goodness and severity of God : on them which fell, severity ; but to- 
ward thee goodness, if thou continue in his goodness ; otherwise 
thou also shalt be cut off." And we have sad and affecting instances 
of this. Where are the Churches to whom St. Paul addressed his 
blessed epistles? Corinth, Ephesus, Colosse, Philippi, Thessalonica 1 
They had their day, and for a time they improved it ; but they grew 
weary of well doing ; and, melancholy fact ! not one remains at all ; 
or remains only as a picture of spiritual decay and corruption. 0, 
if the Apostle Paul could sigh amidst his felicities in heaven, he 
would sigh in tracing the contrast between the glorious monuments 
which his hallowed zeal left in Greece and the Lesser Asia, and the 
desolations of God's judgments, and the wastes of spiritual death, in 
2 



SERMON LXXX.] THE DAY OF VISITATION. 171 

the same countries ! The track of light which he left is darkened. 
Those Churches, once so distinguished by faith, and love, and con- 
formity to the model of his own injunctions, that, when absent from 
them in body, he was present with them in spirit, joying and behold- 
ing their order, and the steadfastness of their faith in Christ, are now 
like the desert heath which never sees when good cometh. And if 
his spirit has glanced at their desolated cities, their base subjection to 
the false prophet, their utter extinction, or their dying life, more sad 
and affecting than death itself, he has a thousand times adopted the 
words of his Master, " O that thou hadst known, even thou, in this 
thy day, the things that belong to thy peace !" These are the fearful 
monuments which God hath set up, to warn us by the fate of the Gen- 
tile Churches, as well as of the Jews, that we neglect not the day of 
our visitation. 

3. But equally affecting instances are presented by individuals. 
When men wilfully hide their eyes from the things which belong to 
their peace, there comes a twofold judicial hiding from them on the 
part of God. 

The first is partial and temporary. The rejected light shines with 
feebler ray ; the grieved Spirit takes a temporary departure ; and at 
every act of resistance, a longer period of time intervenes before his 
return. And in this state of things, although the sentence has not 
passed which hides them for ever from the eyes, yet what melancholy 
scenes are presented ! Many, whose hearts once received the whole 
truth, are now bewildered in the errors which they loved, and with 
which they trifled. Many, whose hearts often deeply felt, can now 
hear the most solemn truths without a salutary fear, and see proposed 
the most elevated blessings, without one aspiration after them. Many, 
who once held the world so loose, that some leisure, at least, was left 
for serious thought, seem at though they were transmuted into the 
very substance of the world which they love, and are as insensible to 
God as the base and dead elements on which they have fixed their 
hearts. Many are now slaves to vices and tempers of which, had it 
been prophesied that they should ever have had place in their hearts, 
and have stained their lives, they would have said, " Is thy servant a 
dog, that he should do this great thing?" Many who once knew God, 
and loved his people, are now in the ranks of the world, giddy and 
vicious as those with whom they mix, and far more miserable. Base 
apostates are they from their Saviour, and aliens from their former 
friends. When such instances pass before us, — and we see them but 
too frequently, — well may we say of each, " O that thou hadst known, 
even thou, the days of visitation ; days which may return, but never 
under circumstances so favourable ! that in them thou hadst known 
the things belonging to thy peace !" 

But the second case of judicial hiding is final and eternal. I do not 
think that this takes place before death ; at least, I see no Scriptural 
authority for such an opinion ; and no man, therefore, has the right to 
say so. But that day will come ; and ah ! could we unveil the mourn- 
ful realities of the invisible world, what comments on the text would 
there be presented to us ! There are the inhabitants of the old world, 
on whom, " the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah," but 
who " were disobedient." O for " a preacher of righteousness" now ! 

2 



172 THE DAY OF VISITATION. [SERMON LXXX. 

But no ; " they are hid from thine eyes." There are the rebellious 
Jews, to whom God sent his prophets, rising up early and sending, but 
they would not hear. O for an Elijah, an Isaiah, a Jeremiah now ! 
But, " they are hid from thine eyes." There are the men who, when 
the Son, the heir, came, said, "This is the heir ; come, let us kill him;" 
and who treated the servants as they had treated the Master ; and for 
no other crime than this, that they disturbed their sleep of sin, and 
earnestly sought their salvation. O for a glance of the Saviour now, 
as when they heard him say, " And him that cometh unto me, I will in 
nowise cast out !" O for a sight of Peter, once more saying, " Repent, 
and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times 
of refreshing shall come !" But no times of refreshing come. No re- 
pentance is there. These things are now " hid from their eyes." And 
there, too, are the unhappy multitudes who, up to our time, have died 
without cordially embracing the Gospel, and accepting its offered sal- 
vation ; for this sad process of self destruction has been going on to 
this moment. And it is that I may, by God's blessing, put some bar in 
the way of your following examples so fatal, that I bring these scenes 
before you. Survey, then, the miserable throng. There you will see 
many a youth who despised the example of a father, and the instruc- 
tion of a mother ; many a delayer, who talked about the more con- 
venient time, till his day of opportunity expired ; many a worldling, 
in whose heart the seed began to spring up, but the thorns choked it, 
and made it unfruitful ; many a trifler, who never made salvation a 
serious concern, and therefore took no steps to secure it ; many a one 
who has delighted in sermons, and comparing the gifts of preachers, 
who have been to them " as one who hath a pleasant voice, and play- 
eth well upon an instrument," but who were not heard as ambassadors 
for Christ, beseeching men to be reconciled to God ; many a one who 
has said, " Lord, Lord," joined in our prayers, our psalms and hymns, 
but did not the things commanded them. But time would fail me to 
run over the classes of the children of disobedience and -perdition. But 
whatever the -class, looking on their hopeless misery, we may weep and 
say, " O that ye had known in your day the things that belonged to 
your peace, but which are now hid for ever from your eyes!" Yes: 
hid in judgment. No Sabbath shines on them ; no voice says to them, 
" Come, let us go up to the house of the Lord ;" no ambassador for 
Christ unfolds his message, and proposes terms of peace ; no gracious 
feeling springs up in the soul ; no Saviour pleads for them with God. 
The things belonging to their peace are hidden from them ; hidden for 
ever ; the day has closed ; the curtain has fallen ; the pleading voice 
of mercy is silent ; the wrath has come upon them to the uttermost ; 
all is darkness, all is despair. that ye had known, even ye, in your 
own day, the things that belonged to your peace ! But it is too late ; 
they are now hid for ever from your eyes. 

********* 

Hear, then, the present message of God. Consider it well. Pray 
for the salvation revealed in the Gospel. Flee, without delay, from 
wrath to mercy. 
2 



SERMON LXXXI.] HEAVEN. 173 

Sermon LXXXI. — Heaven. 



" And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold the tabernacle of 
God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and 
God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all 
tears from their eyes ; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor cry- 
ing, neither shall there be any more pain : for the former things are passed away. 
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he 
said unto me, Write : for these words are true and faithful," Rev. xxi, 3-5. 

Although but few possess the learning and research necessary for 
the investigation of such parts of this book as may be accessible to 
human understanding, and though neither learning nor industry will 
suffice to open all its mysteries, it is, nevertheless, a book of deep and 
delightful interest to every true Christian. It not only contains the 
sublimest imagery, but the most important lessons ; and though it is 
not for us to know the times and the seasons which the Father has put 
within his own power, yet may we here see how vain and short-lived 
are the triumphs of the rulers of the darkness of this world ; how He 
that sitteth in the heavens laughs at their proud combinations ; and 
what means he has at his command, to crush them beneath his feet, 
when the patience of his saints is fully tried, and the times fixed by 
his infinite wisdom are fully come. Mighty elements rush, mighty an- 
gels fly, to execute his vengeance ; tumultuous earth sinks in trembling 
subjection ; and the chain of his omnipotence at length binds the great 
deceiver and destroyer, that he shall deceive the nations no more. And 
surely, although we may fail to fix the dates, and to trace the order, of 
the events here made the subjects of prediction, yet we are all inte- 
rested in knowing how that strife between the adverse powers of truth 
and falsehood, holiness and sin, which has continued for so many ages, 
shall at length cease. That strife, indeed, shall yet for a while con- 
tinue. Yet shall our world be troubled with wars and desolations. 
Even in this book the stream of time lies before us, tossed with tem- 
pests, and darkened by lowering skies ; but we are permitted to track 
it onwards, though sometimes its course may be obscured, till at length 
it settles into peace, brightens under the lustre of a cloudless heaven, 
and with calm, and deep, and solemn grandeur, falls into the ocean of 
eternity. Error and sin may for a time maintain the conflict ; but 
truth and righteousness shall finally prevail, and the effect be quietness 
and assurance for ever. 

But this is not only the book of time ; it is likewise the book of 
eternity. Not only do the events of this world here rise before us, 
but the scenes of another. The dead rise, the throne of judgment is 
set, the books are opened ; and then comes the doom of the wicked, 
then the glory of the just. Then is heaven opened ; its very song 
falls on our ears ; and fields of light and glory, the pure abodes of the 
sanctified, the eternal residence of redeemed men, are spread before us. 

To this our text leads us ; and that we may be instructed by it, that 
so the delusive charms of earth may be broken, and heaven have all 
our hearts, come and contemplate the three impressive views under 
which the future felicity of the saints is here revealed to us. 

I. The tabernacle of God is with men. 

2 



174 HEAVEN. [SERMON LXXXI. 

II. They shall be his people, and he shall be their God. 

III. There shall be an eternal exemption from the sufferings and 
sorrows of mortality. 

I. The tabernacle of God is with men. 

Throughout the whole book we find continual allusion to the temple 
service of the Jews. This furnishes some of its most striking sym- 
bols. Thus we have an altar, incense, priests clothed in white, che- 
rubim, and the sacred presence of God. Bursts of sacred joy and 
harmony remind us that we are come to that Mount Zion of which the 
earthly one was the impressive type. Honour was still to be done to 
that ceremonial law, of which God was the author ; and thus, withre- 
ference to the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, a great voice 
cries, " Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell 
with them." That which was then typified is now fulfilled. We are 
taught by this, 

1. That there shall be in heaven a special and visible presence 
of God. 

So was it in the tabernacle and temple. God, invisible every where 
else upon earth, was there revealed. In Jerusalem was his dwelling, 
and his throne upon Zion. So shall it be in heaven, only with a dis- 
play of glory corresponding to that perfect state which exists there. 
Heaven will not be a wide waste of space, where God is only to be 
apprehended by the exercises of pure intellect, and where we must 
" feel after him, if haply we may find him." " Yet in my flesh," said 
Job, " shall I see God." The glory is there to which our Lord was 
received, and which he had with his Father before the world was. 
Jesus is there bodily ; and if nothing else gave locality to heaven, that 
would. There he is, enthroned in the centre of the infinite circum- 
ference of the Deity, the Lamb in the midst of the throne. And there- 
fore " the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine 
in it ; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light 
thereof." 

2. This symbol of the tabernacle denotes the personal approach of 
the saints to God. 

When we recollect the presence of God in the tabernacle, we have 
an explanation of phrases frequently occurring in the Old Testament : 
as, " It is good for me to draw nigh unto God ;" and that passionate 
exclamation of David, " When shall I come and appear before God ?" 
They who were in the tabernacle were near to God ; and thus was the 
state of the blessed above typified of old. Happy, indeed, is the soul 
which communes with God on earth ; but a sense of distance will still 
remain : we shall feel that we see through a glass darkly ; and there 
will be earnest aspirations after higher bliss. " I have a desire to 
depart, and to be with Christ," is the language of Paul. All that the 
body now hides from us we cannot tell ; but we are sure that it hides 
God from us. While we are at home in the body, We are absent from 
the Lord. And thus feeling, a spiritual instinct urges us on, kindling 
earnest desire in the soul till the distance is annihilated, the wall of 
partition falls down ; and being " absent from the body," the spirit 
knows what it is to be, in the very highest sense, " present with the 
Lord." And then shall that animating declaration of the psalmist be 
fulfilled in a degree which cannot be- known in this world : " Blessed 
2 



SEKMON LXXXI.] 



HEAVEN. 175 



is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, 
that he may dwell in thy courts : we shall be satisfied with the good- 
ness of thy house, even of thy holy temple." 

3. The allusion to the tabernacle instructs us, that part of the feli- 
city of the saints in heaven shall consist in the worship of God. 

And who would wish it to be otherwise ? Could we find a man who 
would exclude from his idea of this place of blessedness, the eternal, 
ceaseless worship of his God, I would deny to him all claim to a single 
ennobling thought : that by itself would prove his total want of prepa- 
ration for the kingdom of God. But it is not so ; the tabernacle of 
God is with men, and to that they shall bring the homage of their 
hearts, and the tribute of their praises. So in the tabernacle of old : 
the sin offerings, the peace offerings, the thank offerings, were all 
brought there; and with a variety of instruments and voices the 
praises of God were there sung. There, especially, were sung the 
songs which the sweet psalmist received from the inspiring Spirit ; 
songs, indeed, containing "thoughts that breathe, and words that burn," 
and which to our own day retain all their animation and power. It was 
this which made David say, " A day in thy courts is better than a 
thousand. I had rather be a door keeper in the house of my God, than 
dwell in the tents of wickedness." And, when distant from it, he 
envied even the birds which found shelter in the sanctuary, were 
covered by its shadow, and cheered by its sounds. And have we not 
felt the inspiration of worship ourselves ? Wherever God is devoutly 
adored, feelings at once the strongest and the richest are called forth, 
from 

"The speechless awe which dares not move, 
And all the silent heaven of love," 

to the thanksgivings which break from a heart overcharged with its 
grateful recollections. 

These are the feelings which are to be heightened and perfected in 
heaven. The worship there shall be ceaseless and eternal ; and it is 
an interesting view of it, that it shall be all praise. No prayer shall 
be there, for there shall be no sense of want ; all is praise, for all is 
manifestation and light ; all is praise, for all is triumph ; all is praise, 
for all is blessedness and enjoyment. Whatever the feeling, praise, 
eternal praise, is the expression of it, from the breathing whisper of 
adoring love which flits through the prostrate ranks of the redeemed, 
to the full chorus of praise, the high, the universal shout of glory, and 
honour, and blessing, to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the 
Lamb for ever. 

II. The second view contained in the text is, " They shall be his 
people ; and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." 

This is a large and most interesting promise. 

1. " They shall be his people." 

There shall be a public and infallible acknowledgment of all who 
are his, by their admission into the tabernacle of God. This is an 
instructive view. Here the Church is mixed, and has never yet 
appeared with spotless garments, and unclouded lustre. The wheat 
and the tares grow together, and the servants cannot accurately sepa- 
rate them. Careless or wicked teachers have built upon the founda- 
tion wood, and hay, and stubble ; and these are to be seen along with 

2 



176 HEAVEN. [SERMON LXXXI. 

the gold, and silver, and precious stones. But "every man's work 
shall be made manifest ; for the day shall declare it, because it shall 
be revealed by fire ; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what 
sort it is." And then, when the wood and hay, and stubble shall be 
destroyed, the gold, and silver, and precious stones shall abide, and 
there shall be one " glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or 
any such thing," but "holy and without blemish." And if, with all 
its imperfections, communion with the Church is so profitable and 
delightful, what shall it be when all imperfections, both in her and 
ourselves, are for ever done away ? Our happiness greatly depends 
on our society ; and that shall be a society all intellect, all purity, 
all love. 

The number too of the people of God shall there be discovered. 
Here we necessarily know but few. Myriads ha*d passed away to 
their heaven before we were born ; and though all the living saints of 
the Most High are known to him,— though their names are all written 
in his book, — yet is that book read by none but himself. And there is 
our want of charity, as well as limited knowledge ; and this narrows 
the number in our view. We meet, it may be, with one hypocrite ; 
and our faith in many who are sincere and upright is shaken, and we 
offend against the generation of his children. Sectarian prejudices, or 
differences of opinion, all contribute to chase the good from our hearts 
and our eyes ; and none of us know what God has done for men. But 
in the day of God all these things shall be removed ; and as Elijah 
was surprised by the secret number of them who had not bowed the 
knee to Baal, so perhaps we shall wonder at the multitudes of the 
saved. Lo, they come from distant ages, from distant lands, from 
circles we never visited, from solitudes where, little and unknown, 
they lived and died. They come, and all shall be acknowledged ; and 
we shall see them, a multitude whom no man can number. 

2. " He will be their God." 

This, the promise to the ancient Israelites, to the Christian Church, 
to saints, both in earth and heaven, signifies not merely that he is the 
sole object of their worship, but they have a delightful propriety in him. 
The relation is reciprocal. They, as his people, are his portion ; he, 
as their God, is theirs. It imports, as in the case of the ancient Jew- 
ish Church, the engagement of all his perfections on their behalf. 
From his wisdom, as on earth they received revelation, and thus knew 
his statutes and judgments, so in heaven they shall receive instruction 
and delight. His counsels shall be open to their reverent gaze ; and 
in adoring blessedness they shall admire them for ever. There is his 
goodness. In the world, heaven pours its fatness upon the fields, and 
the enriched earth yields her fruits for the use of man : emblems these 
of the eternal communications of good in heaven. Much of goodness 
is experienced here ; but the full tide of good will to man is reserved 
for the period when " the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall 
dwell with them." On earth, his Church was defended by his power. 
The security of Israel was a fine type of this. Balaam builds his 
altars, offers his sacrifices, and attempts to curse those whom God had 
not cursed ; but he was obliged to confess that there was a power 
which baffled all his arts, and to say, " There is no enchantment 
againt Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel." And 
2 



SEHMON LXXXI.] HEAVEN. 177 

with far greater emphasis than to the Church on earth shall it be said 
to the company of the saved ones in heaven, " Happy art thou, O 
Israel ; who is like unto thee, people saved by the Lord !" 

III. The third view of the happiness of the saints in light present- 
ed by the text is, their exemption from all the sufferings of this mor- 
tal state. 

" God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Tears are the 
visible and affecting expressions of distress ; and, therefore, to say 
there shall be no more tears, is to say that all those causes of sorrow 
which exist in the present world shall be eternally removed. The 
text, therefore, adds, " There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, 
nor crying ;" because these are the causes which rend the hearts of 
men, and suffuse their eyes with tears. 

There shall be no more tears of separation. The longest and most 
painful separations are those which are caused by death ; and what 
eye has not been dimmed with tears by this ? He must have been 
unhappy indeed over whose unmoistened grave no tears are shed, and 
whose death has occasioned no regrets. But the number of these is 
few. Death rends all hearts. When Joseph died, the children of Israel 
wept sore. " My father ! my father !" exclaimed Elisha, when Elijah 
was taken away from him. " O my son Absalom ! O Absalom, my 
son, my son !" said the much-moved David, as he "went up to the 
chamber over the gate," that he might weep alone. And when his 
friend Lazarus died, " Jesus wept." Well ; be it so. To weep and 
to be wept is the irreversible decree as to man below ; but then, so 
much the more welcome the state we hope for. A great voice is heard 
out of heaven, " And there shall be no more death." The sight would 
be a blot in the tabernacle of God. The rigid limb, the silent pulse, 
the breathless lip, the pallid cheek, the fixed and darkened eye, — these, 
these are not scenes for heaven. But this is the decree : " There 
shall be no more death." This shall restore and perpetuate your friend- 
ships, and wipe the tears of separation away for ever. 

And with the tears of separation pass away all those which pain 
wrings from the tortured body, or sorrow from the wounded spirit. 
Martyrs, you have been racked and torn, but there is now no more 
pain for you ; for, like your Master, you have exchanged your crown 
of thorns for a crown of glory. Patient sufferers from disease, you 
could weep, though you could not murmur ; but wearisome nights are 
no longer appointed you. Nor does the spirit, full charged with its 
inward griefs, pour the flood into the eyes. No publican here smites 
on his breast, exclaiming, " God be merciful to me a sinner !" No 
Peter, the cowardly denier of his Lord, goes out to weep bitterly. No 
tears of shame and grief are shed over barrenness of spirit, and hard- 
ness of heart. Zion no longer cries, " The Lord hath forgotten me." 
" There shall be neither sorrow nor crying, nor any more pain." 

And we may add, that there shall not be even tears of joy. For 
what do they suppose ? The joy which finds relief in tears supposes 
a previous anguish, and that the change from one state to another 
shakes the feebleness of mortality. Or it supposes that we are so 
unused to strong emotions, that our measure of joy is soon fdled up ; 
that even the bliss of earth may be too copious for the contracted 
vessel of our hearts, and therefore so easily overflows in tears. But 

Vol. II. 12 



178 HEAVEN. [SEKMON LXXXI. 

there shall be no such alternations in heaven ; nor will the capacity 
for blessedness be thus limited. Joy will not be so much a stranger 
that we shall weep at meeting it. It will be a habit, not accident. 
It will be, not the transient flash which dazzles, overpowers, and dis- 
appears, but the fixed and steady element in which we shall live for 
ever. 

And the text gives the reason of all this : " The former things are 
passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make 
all things new." How impressive and sublime is the scene thus pre- 
sented ! Under the throne of Him who is arrayed in the glory of the 
Father, lie heaven and earth, the present seat of death, and sorrow, and 
pain. He speaks, and they vanish, and " the former things are passed 
away." He speaks again, and a new heaven and earth spring into 
being : " The tabernacle of God is with men ;" and he that sitteth upon 
the throne saith, " Behold, I make all things new." What a dream 
will then our earthly sufferings and labours, our joys and our sorrows, 
appear ! They have passed away, and a new world opens to our view 
to abide for ever. 

" With joy the sailor, long by tempest tost, 
Spreads all his canvass for the distant coast : 
With joy the hind, his daily labour done, 
Sees the broad shadows and the setting sun : 
With joy the slave, worn out with tedious woes, 
Beholds the bliss that liberty bestows." 

And if the sailor thus joys, though the tempest must be again braved; 
and the labourer, though to-morrow's sun must awaken him to new 
labours, and shine again on the fetters of the slave ; what is that joy, 
when the howl of the last tempest sinks upon the ear, when the last 
labour is completed, and our chains fall off for ever ! Behold, he cre- 
ates all things new ! The heavens are new, the earth new, the body 
new, the spirit new, society new, circumstances new ; and new for 
this reason, that all is perfect, and all unchangeable. 

1. We have here a noble description of the Christian's heaven. 
Here is no plunge into annihilation. Nor is this the heaven of the 

modern infidel poet, — 

" I would not, if I might, be blest ; 
I ask not bliss, I ask but rest." 

Not a pagan Elysium ; not a Mohammedan paradise : all is noble, 
and pure, as well as joyful. 

2. We must be made new before we can inherit this new creation. 
There must be a correspondence between our own mind, and the 

provided blessings. If this work is as yet undone, apply yourselves 
to it at once. If done, rejoice in God. What, though you are yet 
where pain, and sorrow, and tears, and death remain, yet such hopes 
are as life in death, they assuage pain, they make our very tears spar- 
kle with the light of the coming glory. 

Go on, then ; and amidst pains and sorrows, and tears, and death, 
meditate on the words, "Behold, I make all things new;" and upon 
the seal of God's eternal faithfulness set upon the whole : "And he said 
unto me, Write," for the comfort and support of all the sufferers and 
travellers of earth in all ages, — " write ; for these things are true and 
faithful." 
2 



SERMON LXXXII.] THE ROCK OF BELIEVERS. 179 

Sermon LXXXII. — The Rock of Believers. 



" For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges," 
Deut. xxxii, 31. 

The separation of Abraham and his descendants from the rest of 
mankind was an event of the deepest interest even to the world at large. 
Its principal object, doubtless, was to preserve among men the light of 
true religion ; but it had, likewise, others which, though subordinate, 
are all of them pregnant with instruction. From that time we see the 
Church of God no longer scattered abroad, but exhibited in a visible 
community, the concentrated light of the world, the refuge of all sur- 
rounding nations. 

Nor was even this all. A visible type was thus presented of the 
difference which God puts between his people and the world. In a 
future age this was to be less obvious to the senses ; but before that 
age came, men were to be taught sensibly that God has a people on 
earth, with whom he specially dwells, and over whom he exercises a 
special care. Such were the descendants of Abraham in the promised 
line. Well might Moses say, "What nation is there so great, who 
hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that 
we call upon him for?" " Happy art thou, O Israel : Who is like unto 
thee, O people saved by the Lord ?" Such comparison he often makes 
in order to excite their gratitude ; and it is to the same peculiarity that 
he refers in the text. Some had departed from God ; they had mixed 
with that world which has been in all ages contradistinguished from 
the Church ; but they had only sinned against their own mercies. So 
far from being gainers by their new connections, they are told, what 
sooner or later they would painfully discover, " Their rock is not as 
our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges." 

The distinction remains to this day. God is the Rock of his Church ; 
and all who are of the world, or who forsake him for the world, shall 
rind, and shall finally be constrained to acknowledge, that " their rock 
is not as our Rock." 

The subjects of our present discourse, then, are, 

I. The felicity of God's people ; and, 

II. The vain trust of all who forsake him. 

I. The felicity of God's people. He is their Rock. 

For the frequent comparison of their almighty Protector to a rock, 
in the Scriptures of the Jews, we must see an explanation in the na- 
tural scenery of their country. It had its fertile plains and rich valleys, 
surrounded and, as it were, guarded by rocks. Rocks were the parents 
of the streams which watered their fields. Rocks afforded the firm 
foundations by which their fortresses, their cities, and their glorious 
temple itself, were supported. Among their rocks they found the 
strong positions which defended them from the assaults of invading 
enemies. It was, therefore, impossible for them not to be impressed 
with these natural objects ; not to have the diction of their poetry in- 
fluenced by them. In this song of Moses, to whose inspired mind the 
future lot of Israel was unfolded, and in. the Psalms, this language 

2 



180 THE ROCK OF BELIEVERS. [SERMON LXXXII. 

abounds. The general idea is that of stable and permanent security. 
It is thus used in the text. Now what God was to Israel of old, he is 
still more to us ; the thought, therefore, on which we may profitably 
dwell is this, — that the interests of true Christians rest upon and are 
supported by God, who is thus their Rock. To a few illustrations of 
this interesting truth I direct your attention. 

1. God is the sure foundation of their trust as to their religious 
safety. 

In matters relating to the soul, all seek some object of confidence. 
And in this sense is it true both " that all people will walk every one 
in the name of his god," and that the declaration of the people of God 
is, " And we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and 
ever." 

The foundation of all our friendly relations to God is found in recon- 
ciliation to him through faith in Christ ; but when this has taken place, 
then our confidence in his mercy both may and ought to be unbounded. 
He is our Father, our covenant God, who changes not. Whenever we 
approach to him, we approach through a sacrifice which he accepts, and 
we may rely implicitly upon infinite merit and immutable love. Here 
our conscience finds repose. Our sins may rise to our remembrance. 
Visitations of doubt may for the moment disturb us. Perhaps we may 
be tempted to use the language of the psalmist, " I will say unto God 
my Rock, Why hast thou forgotten me ?" But that very appeal shall 
prove that he is our Rock still, and that the first reason we had for con- 
fidence in him, the merit of his Son's death, and his own inviolable 
promise, remains unshaken. Thus is God the basis of our trust. He 
welcomes us to his mercy, and renews to the soul, by his Holy Spirit, 
the comforting assurances of our acceptance in the Beloved. 

2. God is the Rock on which rest all the interests of his people as 
to the present life. 

Temporal, indeed, the interests of this life are, but still they deeply 
concern us ; and that for three reasons. The sun of our enjoyments 
or sufferings is affected by them. They exercise an influence which 
either vitiates our character, or promotes its moral improvement. And 
thus, in a most important sense, they relate to eternity itself. Were 
all these considerations present to our minds, how much should we 
dread being out of the friendship of God, by whom all these interests 
are controlled for good or for evil ! Nor is there any reflection, next 
to those which are immediately connected with our personal salvation, 
more calculated to inspire a delightful tranquillity of mind, than that 
God, as our Rock, sustains both our souls, and all that can affect us in 
this present state. " Life is yours," says the apostle. And behold the 
felicity of the Christian in this. His life is no subject of chance. It 
is continued and terminated by a rule of unerring wisdom and kind- 
ness. His track through life is marked out by a superior counsel, by 
which, whether in the higher or in the lower walks, every bend and 
turning is determined. His measure of enjoyment or suffering is 
equally of Divine appointment or permission. The purposes are all 
gracious, the influences are all moral. And thus are all his saints in 
his hand. By day he is their guiding cloud, visible by its shade amidst 
the splendours of light : their pillar of fire by night, visible by its cheer- 
ing beams in the midst of surrounding darkness. 

a 



SERMON LXXXII.] THE ROCK OF BELIEVERS. 181 

3. .God is the unfailing fountain of their supplies ; for this enters 
into' the idea of the sacred writers, when they speak of him under the 
comparison of a rock. 

They view him, not only as the basis on which all the interests of 
his people securely rest, but as sending forth streams of blessing, like 
the rivulets which, gushing forth from the rocky hills, water, and refresh, 
and fertilize the valleys which lie between. " All my springs,'' said 
the psalmist, "are in thee." That there is an all-sufficiency in God, is, 
indeed, a point too plain to need illustration. This belongs to the very 
idea of God. He is all perfection, and therefore all fulness. But the 
question in which we are most interested is, whether he communicates 
of this fulness to ourselves ; and the establishment of this fact exalts 
still higher the felicity of all to whom he is a Rock. And on this let 
us observe that the communications of the Divine goodness specially 
to good men, constitute the continual subject of the Holy Scriptures. 
" The Lord God," they tell us, " is a sun," the source of wisdom and 
vital influence ; " and a shield," interposing as an almighty Protector ; 
" he giveth grace," all spiritual favours here, " and glory," the bright 
rewards of eternity hereafter ; and then, as though the psalmist were 
losing himself in the fulness of Divine beneficence, he adds, " No good 
thing shall he withhold from them that walk uprightly." As to this 
great doctrine, the New Testament might be expected to advance upon 
the Old ; and it does so. What is the plan of redemption, so fully un- 
folded there, but an institution to connect man with God, and God with 
man ; to lead us back to the sources from which we have wandered, 
and to remove all the obstructions which our sins had raised against 
the full flow of his goodness 1 Behold in Christ the way to the Father. 
See in prayer the posture of receiving, as well as of asking. In the 
word of God, you have his embodied wisdom to be your light. And 
see all crowned by the gift of the Holy Spirit ; Quickener, Teacher, 
Comforter, Sanctifier ; the light, the life, the strength of God in man. 
Great is all this even now ; but when we connect it with eternity, 
where the Source itself shall be approached, O what a prospect for 
believing and persevering man ! if one ray of light now makes so 
vast a change in the whole character of man, as we see in the case 
of Saul of Tarsus ; if one gleam of heavenly comfort can banish so 
deep a gloom of suffering ; if one illapse of love can so cheer, purify, 
and exalt the soul above the world, — what shall it be when the full 
stream rushes forth from the infinite Fountain, and the capacity of the 
soul is expanded and invigorated to receive it ! 
4. God is our refuge from enslaving fears. 

" Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort," 
exclaims the exulting psalmist, " for thou art my rock and my fortress ;" 
and thus could he look with calmness on all his enemies. How sweet 
a picture of the repose of a soul which trusts in God does he draw in 
Psalm iii, 4-6 ; written when he fled from the face of a rebellious son 
at the head of a rebellious people ! "I cried unto the Lord with my 
voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. I laid me down and 
slept ; I awaked ; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of 
ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round 
about." Such is the calm confidence of those who repose their trust 
in God. Nor is this fancy. It rests upon solid grounds. " When he 

2 



182 THE ROCK OF BELIEVERS. [SERMON LXXXII. 

giveth quietness, who then can make trouble ?" " Hast thou not. made 
a hedge about him ?" said Satan himself, with respect to Job ; and the 
introduction to that important book shows that into the enclosure which 
that hedge surrounded, not even Satan could break till permission was 
given ; that his arts of mischief are all under control, and that the evil 
was allowed only for greater good to God's servant. Here, then, is 
the refuge for the soul from enslaving fears of the future. Dark to us 
it may be ; but it is all light to God ; and no power, no combination 
of powers, can match the omnipotence which defends his people. 
Even the fears which death summons around the dying bed, and which 
to the sinner rise up out of the obscurities of the eternity to which he 
draws near with features so terrible, are all dissipated when the soul 
can fly, through Christ, to the shelter of the rock of God's eternal 
mercy. " My flesh and my heart faileth ; but God is the strength of 
my heart, and my portion for ever." 

Such, then, is the security of the true Israel of God. But the text 
teaches us, 

II. The vain trusts of all who reject his mercy, and refuse to be 
governed by his will. " Their rock is not as our Rock." And this is 
so manifest that we may appeal, in proof of it, to themselves, and make 
them judges, even where the decision shall condemn themselves. 

Idols, no doubt, are in the first place referred to ; but we need not 
spend time in showing that the rock on which pagans, Mohammedans, 
or even those who have corrupted Christianity, rest, is not as our Rock. 
The contest among us does not lie between the true God and false 
deities ; but between God in his true Scriptural character and relations, 
and various errors in reference to them ; between God as the proper 
object of his creature's trust, and the world, on which so many rest 
their hopes. 

What, then, are the refuges and resources of men, the supposed rocks 
to which they fly, and whose vanity they shall at length be doomed 
both to feel and to acknowledge? 

1. The first is infidelity. 

Perhaps there are few real infidels, at least, comparatively speak- 
ing; yet, from their arts, there may be great danger, especially to the 
young. What, then, is the characteristic of this system ? I do not 
speak of vulgar infidelity, and its manifest and repulsive blasphemy ; 
but of that which, from its connection with intellect, seems more 
entitled to respect. The principle which persons of this class avow, 
rejects all written revelation ; and they therefore claim to form to them- 
selves a system agreeable to what they call their reason. This is 
their rock. Three considerations will show you how unsound it is. 
We cannot reject the facts of Biblical history, if we would be consist- 
ent, without rejecting history altogether. If these facts be allowed, 
we cannot deny the argument from them to the divinity of our religion, 
without a monstrous violation of all the laws of this so much adored 
reason. These are startling considerations ; but we add a third. Even 
were the infidel system faultless, yet it is only of man, and is therefore 
altogether destitute of authority, which is essential to religion ; for in 
this there are two parties, God and man. How can there be religious 
service where there is no will revealed? how religious obedience 
where there is no law promulged ? To infidels we may say, " Your 



SERMON LXXXII.] THE ROCK OF BELIEVERS. 183 

rock is not as our Rock. Yours rests upon your own reason ; and that 
diners in you all, and is but human at best. Ours rests upon doctrine 
uniform through all ages, sealed by prophecies, authenticated by mira- 
cles, consecrated by the blood of martyrs, loved by the holiest and best 
of men, and confirmed by experience, even to the present moment. 
Yourselves being judges, is your rock as our Rock V 

2. The second is Socinianism ; under which we may class all the 
systems which deny the divinity and atonement of our Lord, and rest 
the hope of their disciples on the forgiveness of sin by the mere will 
and prerogative of God. 

I find many considerations fatal to these systems. They contradict 
the plain letter of Scripture. They oblige men to reject portions of 
holy writ as boldly as infidels reject the whole. My Bible will tell 
me of a Saviour God, and of his atoning sacrifice ; and ■ Jocinianism 
turns away from all this. It is a religion which, as repudiating the 
doctrine of atonement, is new ; so new, that I am sure, even for that 
reason, that it cannot be true. It is thus contrary to the religion of the 
patriarchs. Even in paganism corrupted forms of truth are to be found. 
In the very corruptions of Christianity, till of late years, some refer- 
ence to this was always found. Do you, then, trust in a system which 
annihilates the letter of one half the Bible, and the spirit of the re- 
mainder ? which assumes the principle, nowhere indicated in nature 
or in revelation, that God will forgive sin without shedding of blood ? 
a system which professes' to honour goodness, and leaves truth, holi- 
ness, and justice without glory ? But our Rock is not as your reck. 
" We joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have 
now received the atonement." We take the whole Bible. We agree 
with patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. And instead of arraying the 
attributes of God against each other, we harmonize them all, acknow- 
ledging our salvation to be through faith in the blood of the cross. 

3. We find a third in Pharisaism. 

The principle of this is, that moral obedience gives a merit to man 
which will insure his final acceptance. And is this the rock on which 
they trust ? Then they know not the law of God ; its length, and 
breadth, and height. They know not themselves ; nor that in them 
dwelleth no good thing ; nor that " he that offendeth in one point is 
guilty of all." They trust in themselves that they are righteous ; but 
let them go on to that great hour when God, who knoweth the heart, 
shall weigh them in the balance, and find them wanting. What then 
shall they do ? They have claimed justice, and they have it. Their 
rock is not as our Rock. We acknowledge the supremacy and holi- 
ness of the law ; we feel our guilt ; we fly to that atonement by which 
the law is honoured, and thus we find a strength, not our own, to en- 
able us to fulfil it, by love to God and to man. Here, too, we make 
our enemies judges. 

4. A fourth is presumptuous confidence in the Divine mercy. 
This is mostly associated with crude, unconnected notions of religion 

generally ; indistinct views of the extension of mercy while sin is com- 
mitted, and the spirit of the world indulged. This, alas ! to the shame 
of many who " profess and call themselves Christians," is too generally 
the case. Scarcely can we find pagans or Mohammedans so ignorant 
of their sacred books and doctrines as multitudes of professed Chris- 

2 



184 THE TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. [SERMON LXXXIII. 

tians. And yet they trust in this strange view of mercy. But the 
fallacy is open as day. In this scheme there is no Divine law, no mo- 
ral government, no day of judgment ; all is groundless presumption. 
" For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction 
cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall 
not escape." Their rock, therefore, is not as our Rock. We honour 
mercy as well as they ; but mercy which delivers from sin as well as 
from punishment. 

5. Finally : Instead of trusting their interests and happiness with 
God, many trust only to the world. 

In health, and it forsakes them ; in pleasure, and it disappoints them ; 
in riches, and they " make to themselves wings and fly away ;" in 
honour, and it is blasted ; in long life, and they hear the startling voice, 
" This night shall thy soul be required of thee." Surely their rock is 
not as our Rock. Health may fail ; pleasures may pall ; riches may 
fly away ; honour vanish ; life become extinct. And what then ? God 
remains. Our Rock still stands. God is our health, our joy, our peace, 
our life, our exceeding great reward for ever. 

" Trust ye," then, " in the Lord for ever ; for in the Lord Jehovah," 
and in him alone, "is everlasting strength." 



Sermon LXXXIII. — The Temptation of Christ. 
Preached in Lent. 



" Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the 
devil," Matthew iv, 1. 

At this season the Church of Christ, from a very early age, has 
commemorated that solemn and mysterious transaction, the temptation 
of our Lord, of which a detailed account is given in the chapter be- 
fore us. 

Mysterious we have called it, with truth ; for many particulars con- 
nected with it are not explained ; nor are they, in many particulars, 
explicable. Another state of being will unfold to us this subject, as it 
will every thing beside which it is profitable for us to know. 

But this account of the temptation of our Lord is, nevertheless, 
written for our instruction ; although, like many other parts of Scrip- 
ture, it draws the veil where the eye of a vain curiosity would pry too 
far. Still, however, it leaves all that open to our contemplation from 
which useful lessons of admonition and comfort may be drawn : and 
folly, indeed, would it be in us to deprive ourselves of that information 
which is of so important a practical nature, because we cannot fully 
answer every question which the history suggests. 

That it was considered, by the Divine Wisdom, of eminent import- 
ance that we should know that our Lord was thus tempted, is manifest 
from the fact, that it was specially revealed in order to its being re- 
corded. No eye was upon this strange, this shuddering scene, but the 
eye of God, and of angels. Not even his most confidential disciples, 
who saw the transfiguration and the agony, were present here. To 
them, therefore, it cpuld only be known by revelation ; and the revela- 



SERMON LXXXIII.] THE TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. 185 

tion was made, that it might be recorded for the edification of the 

To this transaction, therefore, I would reverently direct your atten- 
tion; and, . ,. 

I. Suggest a few general observations which may assist your medi- 
tations upon it. . . 

II. Point out some of the great practical lessons which it appears 

to have been designed to teach. 

We call your attention, 

I. To a few general considerations upon this subject. 

1. That we are to understand the account of the evangelist as the 
history of an actual occurrence. 

In explaining this part of the sacred narrative some writers have 
resorted to allegory ; but we have no indications of this in the inspired 
record. It is delivered in the same narrative manner as the other 
parts of the sacred history ; and if this be allegorized, we have the 
same reason to turn the whole of Scripture into a " cunningly-devised 
fable." The object of many writers, in their interpretations, is to 
escape some difficulties, which are often magnified beyond their due 
proportions ; but they forget that all attempts to prevent the Scriptures 
from being any thing but a stumbling block to captious, proud, and 
carnal men, only multiply the difficulties they would shun, and lead 
to fatal results. There will always be " Jews," to whom the Scrip- 
tures will be " a stumbling block," and " Greeks," to whom they will 
be "foolishness." 

2. It may assist our thoughts on this subject, to be reminded of the 
true character of our Lord's person. 

That he was God, we have evidence demonstrative. That he was as 
truly man, of a human body and a reasonable soul subsisting, is equally 
clear. These natures were joined in the unity of one person, and con- 
stituted the one Christ. This doctrine is mysterious ; but this is no 
wonder, when the union of our own body and soul in one person is to 
us inexplicable. How different are the Divine and human natures ! 
yet in our blessed Lord they were united in one person. 

But notwithstanding this, the natures of Christ are not to be con- 
founded. They are distinct, though the person of our Lord is one. 
From this we may conceive how the body of Christ might hunger, 
and his soul be sorrowful, while as God he could not be subject to these 
infirmities. We can also conceive how he could grow in wisdom, as 
well as in stature ; while yet, as God, his knowledge was always and 
eternally infinite, and his presence filled heaven and earth. 

Let us apply this to the case before us. The Divine nature could 

■ not be tempted ; for " God is not tempted with evil, neither tempteth 

he any man." But the attack was made upon the human soul ; upon 

Christ in his character of Messias, or the " servant" of God ; an office 

which he deigned to assume. 

3. We may observe that this history, as well as the Scriptures ge- 
nerally, represents one great malignant being, as the head of others, 
the number of whom is nowhere stated, employed in the work of 
tempting men, and frustrating the designs of God. 

This is so clear from Scripture, that we can only consider its denial 
by some as one of the strongest proofs of his subtle influence over the 

2 



1S6 THE TEMPTATION OF CUEIST. [SERMON LXXXIII. 

minds of men. For put it, that there is such a being, so subtle, active, 
powerful, malignant ; and that men can be persuaded by a little ridi- 
cule, or pretended argument, that he exists not, how great an advantage 
he gains. He comes upon them unawares ; and as they deny the 
existence of the fowler, they are not startled at the spreading of his 
nets. As they see not the danger, they fly not to the refuge, when 
the " roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour." 

But why, let us ask these pretended wise men, should this be thought 
incredible? It is a doctrine riot far out of the course of our common 
conceptions. That there are other beings beside ourselves, who will 
deny 1 That they may have intercourse with this world, why not as 
well as with any other 7 And that th'y should tempt, what is there in 
this ? Do not men tempt each other ? Sinners entice. Some men 
are public tempters ; tempters of a nation, of' an age, to bad feelings, 
principles, and practices. A Voltaire is a tempter by his wit ; a 
Hume, by sophistry ; a Rousseau, by eloquence ; a Byron, by the 
splendours of poetic genius. Every bad man in an elevated situation 
is a public tempter. 

But if we had no analogy to confirm this doctrine, the word of God 
has determined its truth. Wo to the unwatchful. " Be sober, be vigi- 
lant ; for your adversary the devil as a roaring lion goeth about seek- 
ing whom he may devour." 

4. We may offer a remark upon a question often asked, " Did Sa- 
tan know the person he assaulted ? and could he have any hope of 
success ?" 

That he knew something of our Lord's exalted character appears 
from he question, " If thou be the Son of God, command that these 
stones be made bread." And suppose he knew as much of Christ as 
to leave him no rational hope of success ; this throws no discredit upon 
the history. The greatest minds, when wicked, often commit the 
greatest blunders, pushed on by passion and malignity. So Satan, 
trained to tempt, spited so much goodness ; he longed to dim the lustre 
of that bright holiness which he beheld in our Saviour : but the result 
was, the bruising of his own head. 

Yet, though he knew that Jesus was the Son of God, and therefore 
Divine, — for, to give Satan his due, he is a better theologian than to 
be a Socinian, — yet some hope of success might present itself to his 
mind from his not knowing the nature of that mysterious union between 
God and man which subsisted in him. This was new, and so deep a 
mystery, that our Lord says, "No man knoweth the Son but the Fa- 
ther.'' The attempt of Satan was made upon the human nature. He 
had succeeded against the first Adam ; and he might think there was 
no reason why he should not succeed against the second, who was as 
truly a man. And if the human temple were polluted, the Divinity 
would depart, and the work of redemption be at least postponed, and 
require a new incarnation. In this manner it is possible he might 
reason, and be encouraged to the attempt. 

We proceed, 

II. To point out some of the great practical lessons which this 
transaction appears designed to teach. 

1. We are here taught the deep humiliation of our Lord. 

Only three assaults are mentioned by the evangelists ; but St. Mark 



SERMON LXXXIII.] THE TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. 187 

and St Luke tell us that he was tempted during the whole forty days 
of his fasting. A veil is thrown over these deep exercises. Doubtless 
Satan would try all his arts, and summon up all his power for the 
mighty conflict. The struggle was for life, and the maintenance ot 

his kingdom. 

Let holy souls, who spurn thoughts of evil, and who mourn that 
those thoughts should ever enter, say what humiliation was here. 
They only can conceive aright of its depth. 

Jesus is the Captain of our salvation ; and as generals in a difficult 
campaign share with the common soldiers in their severest conflicts 
and dangers, so was he harassed and buffeted by the wicked one. Let 
me not faint in the day of trial ; for he was " tempted in all points as 
we are, yet without sin." 

2. We learn from the history the variety of those temptations by 
which men are assaulted. 

(1.) They are subjected to necessities. They are hungry, and in 
want ; and they are tempted to distrust the care of Divine Provi- 
dence, and to use unauthorized means of relief. This is the first-class 
of dangerous temptations to such as are in poverty and affliction. They 
are urged to do wrong ; to lie, to cheat, and defraud, to steal ; or to 
murmur against the providential dispensations of their heavenly Fa- 
ther ; or to take their cause into their own hand, and act without any 
reference to God. But what a triumph has the man of faith, who 
follows the example of his Lord ! He " lives not by bread alone, but 
by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Bread is 
the ordinary means of support ; but when this fails, there are others. 
Manna from heaven was given in the wilderness. Ordinary means of 
help and support may fail ; but faint not. Thou shalt be helped and 
supported by means to thee unknown, if thou cease from evil, and trust 
in the God of faithfulness and love. 

(2.) They are tempted to presumption. Satan leads our Lord to 
the pinnacle or balustrade of the temple. Whether he was taken on 
foot, or conveyed thither, we have nothing to do with that. The word 
used by the evangelist simply signifies to take one along with another. 
It was said to him, " If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down : 
for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee : 
and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash 
thy foot against a stone." Here Satan, as some of the Greek fathers 
observe, quotes Scripture dishonestly, leaving out the clause, " keep 
thee in all thy ways;" meaning that he should be kept in all his lawful 
providential goings. Thus we have a second class of temptations, to 
sins of presumption. We fall into this evil when we go into evil 
company ; put ourselves unnecessarily in the way of temptation ; go 
out of the course of Providence from a restless desire of change ; and 
when we make haste to be rich. Mark how this temptation is to be 
repelled : " Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God ;" thou shalt not 
put him to the trial, except where he has authorized it. 

(3.) Temptations to the worldly spirit. Satan showed our Lord 
" the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them ; and said, All these 
things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." Per- 
haps Judea and its tetrarchies are meant. They are sometimes termed 
" the kingdoms," as Judea is sometimes denominated " the world." 



188 SECURITY AND HAPPINESS [SERMON LXXXIV. 

Or the neighbouring countries may have been presented to him as a 
specimen of the world. Or some visionary representation may have 
been made to his mind, to assist the mountain scene. Here Satan 
was disclosed. Perhaps he before appeared as a hungry traveller, 
asking a share in our Saviour's bread ; and then as an inquirer into 
his Divine mission ; then as a tutelary angel, having a district or a world 
committed to his charge. But the pretended angel of light, who calls 
for worship, is transformed back into himself; and our Lord indig- 
nantly replies, " Get thee hence, Satan ; for it is written, Thou shalt 
worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." 

Satan cannot offer us similar greatness ; but he tempts by ruling 
ambition ; as in the case of Alexander, Cesar, and Napoleon. And 
how the poor fools were betrayed ! Alexander dies of drunkenness ; 
Cesar was stabbed in the senate house by a friend ; and Napoleon died 
in exile at St. Helena. He tempts also by more ordinary worldly 
blessings. But if the price of any advantage must be a subjection to 
him, and a renunciation of your love and obedience to Christ, then 
you see the fiend ; and your duty is to say, " Get thee hence, Satan." 
Be true to this principle, to serve only God, and to preserve your alle- 
giance to him. 

3. We here see the means of effectually resisting temptation : the 
word of God. 

We are not to debate and reason with the enemy. Satan can beat 
us there. But, " It is written," is to be our reply. Every question 
of duty is settled by the authority of God ; and from that there lies no 
appeal. Three times our Lord thus answers the arch enemy. The 
written word of God, my brethren, is your rule. Are you called upon 
to decide a question suggested by a temptation to sin, or to the omis- 
sion of any duty ? The case is already determined by the highest 
authority. The decision is before you, and is your only rule. 

4. We learn from the narrative before us, that temptation, simply 
considered, is not sin. 

Our blessed Lord was tempted, even to worship the devil, yet he 
was without sin ; perfectly " holy, and harmless, and undefiled." 
Good men are often tempted ; but unless they parley with the tempter, 
or their will consents to the evil, he " touches them not," so as to leave 
any stain. As he was tempted, and yet "knew no sin;" so may we 
fly to him for succour. Satan is a conquered enemy. His head is 
bruised ; and through Jesus Christ we also may overcome. Only let 
us ask the aid of his Spirit ; and trust in Him who knows what it is 
to be tempted : so shall we be " more than conquerors" through his 
grace and power. 



Sermon LXXXIV. — The Security and Happiness of the Church. 



" There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy 
place of the tabernacles of the Most High," Psalm xlvi, 4. 

To this psalm Luther always had recourse when passing clouds 
and storms darkened the glorious morning of the Reformation. In the 
devotional use of this inspired composition he was not alone. It was 
2 



SERMON LXXXIV.] OF THE CHURCH. 189 

used by saints in still earlier times, who witnessed desolations in the 
earth, and combinations of enemies against the Church. To how 
many breaking hearts it has conveyed a cheering and triumphant con- 
fidence, the day of the Church's final victory alone will declare. 

Sweet indeed is its strain. It was written for our instruction ; and 
it conveys instruction amply, and in a manner best adapted to fix our 
attention, and to awaken our interest. 

Two scenes are here laid before us. One is a scene of wild com- 
motion. The earth is removed ; the mountains are carried into the 
midst of the sea ; the sea is roaring and troubled ; while the moun- 
tains which still remain tremble with the beating of the chafed surges 
upon their base. All here is sublimely terrible. 

The other scene is in perfect contrast. A placid river runs through 
its sheltered valley, undisturbed and undisturbable, making glad the city 
through which it flows, and giving fertility to its adjacent lands. 

The scene of tempest and change is the world ; the scene of shel- 
tered lowliness is the Church. And how true is the picture ! What 
nations have passed away, like tracts of earth carried into the midst 
of the sea ! What mighty empires, like mountains, have sunk into the 
abyss ! What an emblem of earthly change and disquiet is the ocean ! 
restless when most at rest ; and affording no security, under its most 
placid aspects, against the rushing storm, and the heaving surge. 
How much is swept away already ! and there are still mountains of 
worldly pomp and power which at this moment " shake with the swell- 
ing thereof." 

But in the midst of all this change and wild commotion, there is a 
valley over which the winds sweep, and are not felt ; along which the 
river flows, and is not troubled ; in which stands the city of God, en- 
circled with "the everlasting mountains." For, " as the hills are round 
about Jerusalem, so is the Lord round about his people." I therefore 
direct your attention to the security, the tranquillity, the supply, and 
the gladness of the Church of God. 
I. The security of the Church. 

The description of security to which we have just adverted is not ap- 
plicable to the nominal Church. The Roman empire, though called 
Christian, has been subverted. The Greek Church has suffered terrible 
agitations from the operation of secular causes with which it has come 
into contact. Christian nations, like other communities, are subject 
to convulsions. If the world be called the Church, it must still be sub- 
ject to worldly mutations. If the city be built beyond this sacred en- 
closure, where the river of God flows, the inundations of the restless 
ocean will reach it, and convulsions will shake it down. The doctrine 
which we intend to inculcate is, that the true Church can never fail. 

Sometimes, like Israel in Egypt, it multiplies under oppression. 
When faithful, it is always secure ; as the surrounding nations were 
never allowed to prevail against Israel when the law of God was duly 
observed. And even when the Church has been reduced by internal 
unfaithfulness, it has never failed ; and it never will fail. Kingdoms 
and empires have passed away, and not a wreck of them is left, but 
some vestiges in ruins, standing in monumental mockery of the boasts 
of men ; but the city of God still stands in her sheltered valley, and is 
made glad by the river of God. 

2 



190 SECURITY AND HArPINESS [SERMON LXXXIV. 

See the antediluvian Church, in the family of Noah, outriding the 
flood itself. 

See the patriarchal Church gathered in the tents of Abraham, till 
it burst forth in the glories of the wilderness, and the institutions of 
Zion. 

See the Jewish Church preserved in Babylon, and, amidst the 
mighty convulsions that followed, more durable than the conquests of 
Alexander. 

See the Christian Church outliving even the eternal Rome ; and, 
sheltered amidst the convulsions and barbarism of the middle ages, her 
light burst the cloud at the glorious Reformation ; a light which has 
ever since been prevailing against the darkness, and subduing men to 
its influence by the mighty dominion which it is every where assuming 
over their opinions and consciences. 

So the text has been accomplished ; and we may now walk about 
Zion, mark her bulwarks, consider her palaces ; and from the past we 
may take up the triumphant strain which follows, " This God is our 
God for ever and ever." 

We proceed to consider, 

II. The tranquillity of the Church. 

The scene before us is a peaceful one. Sometimes the Church is 
represented as a city on a hill, braving storms ; sometimes as a citadel 
with towers and bulwarks, hurling back its assailants. Here it is de- 
scribed in the peaceful vale ; hearing the roar and tumult, and feeling 
it not. 

The Church, however, is not a place, but a society of faithful men ; 
and its tranquillity is the result of that inward state of mind which is 
enjoyed by each. It is from the state of the heart, and from the rela- 
tion of every individual to God, that this delightful repose, this hallowed 
quiet, so opposed to worldly agitations, results. 

Behold how many sources of tranquillity are opened in the true 
Church of God. 

1. You find there men at peace with God. 

They are reconciled to him through the blood of his Son ; and hence 
the tumult of inward guilt has subsided, and all is peace. 

2. You see there men under restraint. 

They are placed under the holy government of their Lord ; and 
each of them is possessed of a new nature, the fruit of his regene- 
rating grace. By this government, and this new nature, their pas- 
sions, tempers, tongues, and actions, are all laid under restraint ; and 
every one is charged to do to others as he would that others should do 
to him. 

3. You find in the Church men in communion with God. 

How tranquillizing is the voice which says to them, " Be still, and 
know that I am God !" 

Be still, anxiety and fear ! " I will never leave thee, nor forsake 
thee." 

Be still, apprehension ! The world around may be disquiet ; but I 
am God, and I rule the whole. 

Be still, impatience ! 1 am God ; and the times and seasons are in 
my power. 

4. You see men there in the use of religious ordinances. 
2> 



SERMON LXXXIV.] OF THE CHURCH. 191 

To some persons, perhaps, this may convey no idea of rest of spirit. 
\nd certainly it will not to those who say concerning the worship of 
God, as they do concerning his Sabbaths, « What a weariness is it ! 
But the true citizens, of whom we speak, worship God without dis- 
traction. They enjoy the calm of the Sabbath. The rest of trust, in 
their minds, is fed and strengthened by the word of truth. Language 
cannot express their enjoyments, under the sweet and calming melody 
of praise ; and the efforts of a love which carries the spirit from a 
restless world to an unchanging God. 

We invite your attention, 

HI. To the supply of the Church. 

This is represented under the apt and striking emblem of a river. 
Standing on the brink of a river, we can scarcely reflect without emo- 
tion, that the stream which glides so noiselessly by us is fed from 
some mysterious source, has flowed from the earliest ages, and will 
flow on while the sun and moon endure. How lit an emblem is this 
of the supplies with which God blesses his Church ! See it in the 
rich supply of truth and grace. 

Here flows the stream of heavenly truth, bright and pure. It has 
widened as it has flowed ; and it now sweeps with all the fulness of 
the last and perfect revelation from God. Grace to apply that revela- 
tion to practical purposes is equally free. " If any man lack wisdom, 
let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth 
not." 

See here the rich supply of grace and blessing. It is no where 
else to be found ; but here is the copious flood. Here the penitent 
guilty are freely forgiven ; here the corrupt and degenerate heart i3 
made new ; here the fulness and variety of promises are only to be 
pleaded in prayer, and the blessings with which they are charged are 
imparted. The great and interesting summary of these blessings is, 
life, love, and holiness; and all are given. Life, supernatural vigour; 
love, which connects our affections with God and heaven ; and holi- 
ness, leading to present fellowship with God, and fitting us for a blissful 
immortality. 

These blessings flow here only ; but here they flow abundantly, and 
will flow for ever. 

The text also speaks, 

IV. Of the gladness of the Church. " There is a river, the streams 
whereof shall make glad the city of God." 

The gladness which the Church of God enjoys has peculiar cha- 
racters. 

1 . It is noble, and worthy of rational beings. 

It is not a gladness arising from the indulgence of appetite and pas- 
sion, which in the reflection "stings like a serpent, and wounds like an 
adder ;" but a gladness in which the understanding and conscience 
participate. 

2. It is satisfying. 

" He that drinketh of this water," said our Lord to the Samaritan 
woman, by the side of Jacob's well, "shall thirst again ;" and the re- 
mark applies to all earthly enjoyments ; " but he that drinketh of the 
water that I shall give him shall never thirst." It " shall be in him a 
well of water springing up into everlasting life." 

2 



192 THE ORACLES OF GOD. [SERMON LXXXV. 

3. It is sanctifying. 

All spiritual enjoyments lead the mind back again to the source 
whence they emanate, and thus heighten our conformity to Him who 
is essential truth and goodness. 

4. It is benevolent. 

The hallowed gladness enjoyed by the spiritual Church of God 
inspires "the pure benevolent desire," that all the world may partake 
of the same benefit. Hence the efforts of private individuals, and the 
more vigorous and extensive efforts of societies, for the universal dif- 
fusion of evangelical light and happiness. The more our own hearts 
are gladdened with the blessings of salvation, the more will they- ex- 
pand in the exercises and triumphs of Christian charity. 

5. It fits us for scenes where gladness is eternal. 

" The sorrow and sighing," which are incident to the present state, 
will ere long " fly away ;" for in the presence of our God there is 
" fulness of joy," without any admixture, and " at his right hand are 
pleasures for evermore." 



Sermon LXXXV.— The Oracles of God. 



" What advantage then hath the Jew, or what profit is there in circumcision ? 
Much every way : chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles 
of God," Romans iii, 1, 2. 

To the first chapter of this epistle no Jew of St. Paul's time would 
object. It describes the idolatrous and immoral state of the Gentiles, 
and declares them to be under the wrath of God. 

The apostle seems to anticipate the approbation of the Jew, in 
regard to this part of his argument. But there is a great difference 
between the sympathizing censures of the Christian, and the harsh and 
censorious judging of the Pharisee and the bigot. To the Jew there- 
fore he turns, in order to fix a salutary and also awakening conviction 
in his mind. " Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou 
art that judgest : for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest 
thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things." He thus finally 
proves that Jew and Gentile, " the whole world," were guilty before God. 

After the apostle had thus put both parties on the same level, a 
Jewish objector might say, " What advantage then hath the Jew 1 and 
what profit of circumcision, the sign of our special relation to God V 
and the apostle gives the answer. 

Our religious privileges are not to be thought of trifling importance, 
because they do not produce their full effect. They cannot be a sub- 
stitute for personal holiness ; they cannot excuse vice ; but man's 
ingratitude does not cancel his obligations ; nor does the abuse of pri- 
vileges destroy their value. The unbelief of men does not make the 
truth of God of no effect. Much, O ye Jews, as ye have abused the 
Divine goodness, it has flowed to you in a special manner ; and if you 
now ask what advantage you have had, I reply, " Much every way." 
I might prove this by referring to your whole history ; but I sum up all 
in one : chiefly, because unto you were committed the oracles of God. 
2 



SERMON LXXXV.] THE ORACLES OF GOD. 193 

I bring this subject before you, my Christian brethren, for the pur- 
pose of reminding you that this great privilege is yours ; that you have 
been eraffed into the same stock, and have succeeded to the same 
place, as the visible Church of God on earth. As to advantage, moral 
and religious, you have it "much every way ;" and chiefly, because 
unto you have been committed the oracles of God. 

Let me then, to impress you with this advantage, endeavour to open 
to you some of the leading characters of the oracles of God ; and to 
remind you that you are entrusted with them. 
We call your attention, 

I. To the leading characters of the oracles of God. 
1*. The first character is that of absolute truth and wisdom. 
The word rendered " oracles" signifies a " Divine speech or answer ;" 
and to distinguish these from all pretended oracles of heathen deities, 
the apostle calls them " the oracles of God," of the true and living 
God. It is true that they were delivered at different times, and were 
spoken to us by men ; but they were " holy men of old, who spake as 
they were moved by the Holy Ghost." We speak, says the apostle, 
" words which the Holy Ghost teach eth ;" and therefore the oracles 
which they uttered were " the oracles of God." 

Words professing to be from God ought to have strong evidence. 
This we grant. But no man who rejects them either thinks that we 
call him to believe on weak evidence, or that he ought so to believe. 
But it is not with weak evidence of their truth that we present the un- 
believer. On the contrary, how mighty and commanding is the evidence 
in favour of the oracles of God ! Every one of them was attested by 
miracle ; and every one of them is ratified by the fulfilment of prophecy. 
Their continuance in the world, when they have for ages reproved that 
world, is a miracle ; and their unabated efficacy in giving life and sal- 
vation, to this hour, is the demonstration that they are oracles of God. 
If, then, they are from God, the question of their wisdom and truth 
is settled. We cannot admit that there is a Being of infinite perfec- 
tion, without admitting his perfect wisdom and holiness. He cannot 
be deceived himself ; and he cannot deceive his creatures. On this 
rock we rest. The perfect truth of the Scriptures is as demonstrable 
as that God is wise and holy. And here is the advantage of possess- 
ing these oracles. Our great interest lies in moral and religious truth ; 
and that truth is here. There is not a question relating either to duty 
or salvation, to which there is not here an answer. Are you an in- 
quirer 1 There is the oracle. Consult it ; for " it shall speak, and 
shall not lie." 

2. The subjects of these Divine speeches or oracles are of infinite 
importance. 

They might have addressed us on other and subordinate subjects ; 
but in this the wisdom as well as the goodness of God is displayed, 
that on those questions which are vital to our peace and safety, the 
oracle speaks ; and on those which are curious, rather than useful, it 
is silent. 

Some persons have complained of this. And, indeed, if all curious 

questions were here answered, no book would be so much consulted as 

the Bible. Yet knowledge is not prohibited, but only delayed. Our 

present state is rather a state of practice and attainment; than of con- 

Vol. II. 13 



1£4 TUB ORACLKS OF GOD. [SEKJION LXXXV. 

templation ; and the revelation is adapted to it. Yet, " what thou 
knowest not now, thou shalt know hereafter." 

Tell me, however, on what subject we lack information, which it 
behoves us to know, that is not here explained ? Is it on the charac- 
ter of God, with whom we have to do ? Lo, he has proclaimed it him- 
self. Is it on the laws by which we are governed ? He wrote them 
on tables of stone, and expounded them by the lips of his incarnate 
Son. Is it on the true state of man ? The sacred oracles show us that 
state as in a glass. Is it on the point of rescue and redemption? 
The oracles of God speak of nothing but with reference to this great 
subject. Is it on the practical application and attainment of this 
mercy ? Here, where it is so important that all should be clear, the 
oracles of God are not like the oracles of heathenism, dark and ambi- 
guous. All is lucid and certain. We are directed to a life of faith, 
of prayer, and to a constant walk with God, in order to the attainment 
of eternal salvation. For these discoveries we thank thee, thou 
condescending Teacher. We are content to leave mysteries to thy 
time of exposition. We shall hear thee say many things to us, which 
now we could not bear. It is sufficient for us at present to know 
how we may be delivered from sin, and from its penalty, eternal death; 
and how we may daily walk so as to please thee. 

3. We have a most interesting character given us of these oracles 
of God, when they are called " lively" or " living" oracles. 

This expression may be paralleled by our Lord's, where he says, 
" The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." 
It is this which constitutes the grand peculiarity of the word of God. 
It is a word with which the Spirit of God wonderfully works ; and 
which he renders living. No other book has this peculiarity. Show 
me one which all the wicked fear ; which lays a secret dread upon the 
boldest ; which cuts deep into the conscience, and rouses salutary fears; 
which comforts and supports ; and while its blessed truths quiver on 
the lips of the dying, disarms death of its sting. Show me such a 
book, and you show me the Bible. In all the crowded libraries of the 
world you can find no other that possesses such power. 

Show me a man, like yourselves, who, when he discourses, awakens 
souls from deadly sleep ; so that the careless shall fall before God, 
convinced of all, judged of all ; who to a trembling spirit, says, " Believe 
and live," and he actually believes and lives ; whose counsel effectually 
guides, quickens, and comforts, in his constant ministrations ; show me 
such a teacher, and you show me a minister of Christ, and one who 
speaks only as the oracles of God. Among all the men who have been 
celebrated for oratory, and for*their power over senates, armies, and 
the populace, who ever professed to produce effects like these 1 Now 
explain these phenomena. Tell me from what in these printed pages 
this man derives this wondrous power. Nothing explains this but the 
life which the Spirit imparts. " Blessed," then, " are the people who 
know the joyful sound." With the oracles of God the Author is present, 
whether you read or hear ; and you have " thoughts that" truly " breathe, 
and words that burn." You cannot avoid this power. It will make the 
word either " a savour of life unto life, or a savour of death unto death." 

4. Another character of the oracles of God is, that they not only 
speak, but make all his other oracles vocal. 



SEKMON LXXXV.] THE OKACLES OF GOD. 195 

God has three other oracles, — nature, general providence, and par- 
ticular or personal providence. Take the first of these. Nature has 
its solemn voice. " There is not a speech nor language where their 
voice is not heard," says the psalmist, when speaking of the heavenly 
bodies. But this is connected with the spread of the Gospel in the 
very psalm where these words occur. And such is the fact. The voice 
of nature is not heard where the Gospel is not. In heathen countries 
the very heavens are turned into idols, and God is excluded from the 
thoughts of men. But whenever the living oracles come, then every 
star, and mountain, and river, proclaims its glorious Maker ; " day un- 
to day uttereth speech ;" and the voice of the oracle falls distinct and 
convincing upon every ear. 

There is the general providence of God exercised in the government 
of nations. All its arrangements have an object, and are carried on 
upon a plan. They are all intended to display the wisdom, power, 
goodness, justice, and truth of God ; and terminate in the conversion 
of all nations to the faith of Christ. Yet all this is unknown to those 
who are destitute of the Divine oracles. To them it appears that one 
event happens to all. One nation rises, and another falls ; and every 
occurrence is either attributed to chance, to blind fate, or to the caprice 
of deities without wisdom, and without mercy. The living oracle gives 
a voice to all this. Instructed by it, we see the past, and we anticipate 
the future. We mark the design of God, "who worketh all in all." 
We see all things tending to one end ; and rest in the assurance that 
" every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain shall be made low ; 
the rough places shall be made plain ; the glory of the Lord shall be 
revealed ; and all flesh shall see it together." 

There is also a particular or individual providence, which confers 
upon us all our blessings, appoints us our station in life, and assigns 
to us our sorrows. Many lessons this providence is intended to teach 
us. " The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance ;" and the rod 
that smites us has a voice which we are directed to hear. But till the 
living oracle speaks, all is silence ; and we derive no lessons of true 
wisdom from the events of life. Behold, then, another advantage re- 
sulting from the oracles of God. When we acquaint ourselves with 
God in his word, then every thing ministers to our " instruction in 
righteousness." 

5. The oracles of God present a peculiar character in their form ; 
and in this we perceive an instance of the condescension of almighty 
God, who evidently intended thus to attract and fix our attention on 
what is to us vitally interesting. 

Mark, my brethren, the different modes in which the truth is pre- 
sented to us, and all bearing upon one great end, the making of us 
" wise unto salvation." 

Here we have history the most ancient ; yet bound up with an ac- 
count of our fall, the promise of redemption, the sufferings and triumphs 
ot the Church, and the manifestations of God. 

Here we have proverbs or maxims of wisdom, that truth might be 
laid up in the memory; and here we have poetry, powerful, sublime, 
and gracefully arrayed, to make our tastes and imagination the instru- 
ments of awakening attention. 

Here we have examples ; to show us piety in action. Patriarchs, 

2 



196 THE ORACLES OF GOD. [SERMON LXXXV. 

prophets, kings, and priests, all pass before us, and invite us to tread 
in their footsteps. Here we see the incarnate Word himself, the sin- 
less man ; and his apostles, so following him as to call upon us to fol- 
low them in all the ways of holy obedience. 

Here we have doctrine in its simplest form, so that he who runs 
may read ; and the deep things of God proposed to us in the language 
of men. 

Here we have prophecy, to give us an interest in the future ; and 
the designs of Providence, extending even to the end of time, are pre- 
sented to our view, to excite a hallowed curiosity, to animate our hopes, 
and to call forth our exertions in the cause of true religion. 

Finally, here we have parable, allegory, and metaphor, in which we 
observe a peculiar display of wisdom and condescension. Illustrations 
are taken from natural objects, and the familiar pursuits of men ; and 
so divinely contrived, that, while the subject is illustrated by the objects 
to which it is compared, the objects so constantly or so frequently oc- 
curring to us may call our attention to the heavenly subject. Thus, in 
all who are familiar with the Scriptures, truth is associated with every 
thing around them ; and all familiar objects are made to speak to them 
of God and Christ, of their danger and remedy, of their fall and re- 
covery. Light and darkness; the gently breathing wind, and the 
storms ; sun, moon, and stars ; mountains and valleys ; springs and 
rivers ; the operations of husbandry, and the useful arts ; the domestic 
and the social relations of life ; have all been, so to speak, sanctified by 
the truth, and are all made oracles of heavenly wisdom. 

6. The last character I shall notice is the fulness of the truth con- 
veyed in the oracles of God. 

Great as are the revelations which God has made, nothing is ex- 
hausted. As in Christ the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily, to be 
eternally manifested ; so in his word there is a fulness of truth. And 
hence the Bible is ever new. In regard to morals, we have principles, 
as well as acts, applicable in many respects for ever ; and the depth of 
their wisdom will be more and more manifested as time rolls on, and 
mankind are placed in new and varying circumstances. Who can 
exhaust the doctrines of holy Scripture ? Doctrines especially relating 
to God, and Christ, and the depth of all-redeerring love. We have a 
beautiful instance of this fulness in the types of Holy Scripture, rising 
in interest, and increasing in number, till they received their fulfilment 
in Christ. And even things in heaven itself are represented by allu- 
sions to the tabernacle. Prophecy, also, receives " a germinant ac- 
complishment ;" and the world is now awake with attention to the 
scenes which it describes. The effects of the whole scheme will be 
developing for ever. In a very important sense the Bible will be the 
oracles of God to the Church above. Every part of that holy book 
will be written upon the memory of each glorified human spirit, and be 
always receiving illustration to the glory of its great Author. 

In conclusion, I remind you, 

II. That these oracles are " committed" or entrusted to you. 

1. They are entrusted to be read and understood. 

There is great guilt in treating them with indifference and neglect. 
" Search the Scriptures ;" for they were given to this e'nd. 

2. To interpret honestly. 
2 



SERMON LXXXVI.] THE INFLICTION OF EVIL, ETC. 197 

They are "the oracles of God ;" and it is a sin of no ordinary mag. 
nitude to pervert their meaning. Take heed how you read and hear. 
The Bible contains that "truth which is according to godliness." This 
is an important rule of interpretation. To pervert these holy oracles, 
so as to give encouragement to impiety, is to incur a responsibility at 
which the stoutest heart may justly tremble. 

3. To make them known to others. 

It is a great sin to restrain the Scriptures ; and in this respect the 
Church of Rome is the most guilty community on earth. Take care 
that you do not imitate that people. Teach these oracles to your 
children and servants, and assist in circulating them to the ends of 
the earth. 

4. To apply to practical purposes. 

Salvation is revealed to us in those oracles ; and that salvation we 
must work out with fear and trembling, or be lost for ever. If we have 
the word of salvation in our hands, and are at last found in our sins, 
our account will be terrible ; and our punishment, remorse, and con- 
fusion, will admit of no remedy. 



Sermon LXXXVI. — The Infliction of Evil upon Mankind. 



" For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. To crush 
'jnder his feet all the prisoners of the earth, to turn aside the right of a man 
before the face of the Most High," Lamentations iii, 33-35. 

There is much of the evil of affliction in the world ; and reflecting 
men, not having the light of revelation, have always felt themselves 
perplexed by the fact. To solve the difficulty, some, among the ori- 
entals, conceived of the existence of two opposite and conflicting 
principles, that of good, and that of evil. Others referred all to fate ; 
while some, again, removed the Supreme Mind from all concern in 
worldly affairs. 

And, indeed, separate from this blessed book, the scene is gloomy 
enough. Sorrow, pain, change, and death, affecting ourselves, affect- 
ing others, every where prevail. An expansion of darkness covers the 
earth. This fact we cannot alter. All our reasoning upon it leaves it 
still the same. But in the manner in which we view it, our happiness, 
our improvement, are deeply concerned. That God could terminate 
such a state of things, is certain. That he does not, is equally certain. 
And yet, let every sufferer know, — and let this truth hang like a cheer- 
ing light upon every dark cloud that may envelope us, — that "he doth 
not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men." 

In the improvement of this subject, let me show you, 

I. The proofs of this interesting doctrine. 

II. The great reason on which this permission or infliction of evil 
is founded. 

III. The gracious limitations by which it is regulated. 

I. 1. The first proof that he cannot afflict willingly, or, as it is m 
the Hebrew, " from his heart," is found in his nature. 
That nature is love. Now, though God is just, yet is he benevolent. 

2 



198 THE INFLICTION OF [SERMON LXXXVI. 

As he is not merciful in that sense which would impair his justice, so 
is he not just in such a way as to impair his love. " But how," you 
say, " is this proved ? All that we see is mixed, and can only show 
that he is both good and severe." True ; and therefore, that we know 
him more perfectly, and see him under milder characters, we owe to 
revelation. The declaration, that " God is love," is in his word. And 
there we see the grand, the indubitable proof of it. " Herein is love, 
not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the 
propitiation for our sins." If God be love, he cannot " afflict from his 
heart." Settle this in your minds as a principle. Love can take no 
delight in our afflictions, and must ever be ready to mitigate or 
remove them. 

2. A second proof is, that we can trace all misery up to causes in- 
dependent of the will and appointment of God. 

And here we need not urge how many miseries we bring on our- 
selves, how many are brought on us by others, in opposition to his 
evident design ; nor how the sins of men oblige the reluctant justice 
of God to inflict punishment. We may go up to the fountain head. 
When God made creatures, he made them perfect and happy, with 
power to remain so. Charge it not on him that any are miserable. 
In that blessed world of obedient spirits, no pain, no sorrow enters ; 
no sigh escapes from any of its habitants ; no death stains it. They 
kept their first estate, and their first blessedness remains. If earth 
presents another scene, an enemy hath done this. Man sinned, and 
thus awakened a vengeance which, but for his own act, had for ever 
slept. 

3. The third proof is, that in all cases we find more of mercy than 
judgment. 

You have sickness, but how much more health ! pain, but how much 
more ease ! disappointment, but how many gratifications ! You sigh 
for a good which you have not ; but how many do you actually enjoy ! 
And yet, you deserve nothing but utter punishment. Nay, take the 
most distressing, the most • suffering, cases, where all human help is 
vain ; even to the poorest, the most depressed, there is opened a ful- 
ness of spiritual comfort and blessedness, with eternal exemption from 
all misery whatever. O why, then, should a living man complain, a 
man for the punishment of his sins ? Let him feel, let him groan, but 
let him not complain. " He doth not afflict willingly." 

4. The fourth proof is drawn from the success of prayer in remov- 
ing afflictions. 

That all evil should not be removed by prayer, we shall have to show 
you just now. That God does remove and mitigate so much, moved 
by the voice of man's distress, is the proof that he is full of compas- 
sion, and "doth not afflict willingly." Sickness has sometimes op- 
pressed you. You have appealed to the mercy of God, and he has 
healed you. Death has made you afraid, as it did Hezekiah ; and like 
him you have prayed, and God has added to the years of your life. 
Under some threatening cloud, ready to burst on you, you have called 
on the name of the Lord, and it has been dispersed, or it has broken 
in unanticipated blessings. In great trouble you have prayed to him, 
and your song now is, " He sent from above, he took me out of the 
great waters." You have been in painful perplexity, and he has guided 
2 



SERMON LXXXVI.] EVIL UPON MANKIND. 199 

you by his counsel. A God who does so often deliver from trouble, 
when man, unworthy man, prays, cannot " afflict from his heart, nor 
grieve the children of men." 

II. Much affliction will be found to remain after all ; and we still 
want the reason of it. 

To enter into this question, let us remember, that in the Divine go- 
vernment there may be said to be three kinds of punishment. The 
punishment of destruction. All deserve this ; and we can only escape 
it through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus ; and none actually 
suffer it, but through their own fault. The punishment of restraint. 
When the heart is bent to evil, it is a mercy, both to the individual 
and to society, that a punitive restraint is imposed. We have two 
remarkable instances of this in man's doom to labour and toil, and in 
the shortening of human life. The punishment of correction. And 
recourse is often had to this, to prevent the punishment of destruction. 
For though salvation is purchased for us, still is it dependent on our 
choice ; and man neglects, delays, and refuses. Corrective punish- 
ments, therefore, are proofs of God's love, not of vengeance. They 
are a painful, but necessary, part of our discipline, to prevent the 
greater evil of our destruction. They are intended, 

1. To keep man in mind that God notices his sins, although he 
may delay their final punishment. Sin is no trifling evil. 

2. To give a spiritual direction to our affections, by showing to us 
the vanity of the world. 

3. To call good principles into exercise, and thus to prepare us for 
heaven. 

Faith, patience, sympathy for others, are all strengthened in afflic- 
tion. We learn there many lessons which otherwise we should not 
have known. Blessed is the man whom God correcteth and teacheth 
out of his law. 
This merciful intention of affliction is farther illustrated in the text by, 

III. The limitations by which it is graciously regulated. 

1. He does not so afflict and grieve, as to crush under his feet the 
prisoners of the earth. 

This is our true and affecting character. We are here, as in a dark 
and wretched dungeon. We have lost spiritual liberty and light, are 
fast tied and bound with the chain of our sins, and under sentence of 
death. Conscience torments, Satan triumphs, and even God surrounds 
us with many miseries, inward and outward, as our punishment. But 
our misery is not final, our case not hopeless. He does not " crush 
under his feet the prisoners of the earth :" a figure this, taken from the 
customs of the vintage, and used to express utter destruction. O no. 
Our Lord has purchased liberty for the prisoners of the earth, and the 
Gospel is the proclamation of it. We are called forth into light and 
liberty, into joy and hope. Your afflictions are only intended to make 
you sensible of the depth of your wretchedness, that you may hear and 
obey the voice of your great Deliverer. And if that voice be obeyed, 
even though for a time you be as prisoners in the grave, yet you shall 
come forth, and exchange the sufferings of earth for the felicities of 
heaven. 

2. He doth not so afflict as " to turn aside the right of a man before 
the face of the Most High." 

2 



200 THE PRODIGAL SON. [SERMON LXXXVII. 

On this beautiful allusion we may briefly dwell. The face of the 
Most High ; the Shechinah, or visible glory of the Lord ; symbolizing 
the throne of grace in heaven ; God accepting the oblation and offer. 
ing of his Son for our sake, and appointing him our Mediator, and 
giving us the covenant right of approaching to him, with all our guilt 
and misery, that we may obtain the provided deliverance. And never 
does God "turn away the exercise of this gracious right. Art thou 
afflicted? Use thy privilege. Is thy pain that of sorrow for sin ? Con- 
fess, renounce it, and seek the joy of salvation. Then shalt thou have 
access as a child. In darkness, "ask his light ; in sorrow, inward joy ; 
in temptation, strength and victory ; in all pressing circumstances, 
help in thy time of need ; in sickness, patience ; in death, life ; in all, 
submission. 

God gave thee this right. He never turns it away, but will honour 
it by the fulness of his blessings. 



Sermon LXXXVII. — The Parable of the Prodigal Son. 



" And he said, A certain man had two sons : and the younger of them said to 
his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he di- 
vided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered 
all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his sub- 
stance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty 
famine in that land ; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined him- 
self to a citizen of that country ; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat : 
And no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself he said, How many 
hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with 
hunger ! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have 
sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be allied thy 
son : Make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his 
father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had com- 
passion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto 
him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more 
worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the 
best robe, and put it on him ; and put a ring on his hand, and sho?s on his feet : 
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it ; and let lis eat, and be merry : For 
this my son was dead, and is alive again ; he was lost, and is found. And they 
began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field : And as he came and 
drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the 
servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother 
is come ; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him 
safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in : Therefore came his 
father out, and entreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these 
many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment : 
And yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends : 
But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with har- 
lots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou 
art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make 
merry, and be glad : For this thy brother was dead, and is alive again ; and was 
lost, and is found," Luke xv, 11-32. 

The design of this parable was to reprove the Pharisees for the 
offence which they took when our Lord received publicans and sin- 
ners. The publicans were hated from their connection with the Roman 
2 



SERMON LXXXVII.] THE PRODIGAL SON. 



201 



power, whose taxes they collected. Even when they were Jews, they 
were regarded, in some respects, as Gentiles ; and the general hatred 
which the Jews cherished toward the Gentiles was transferred to these 
obnoxious persons. It was, however, our Lord's design, as is apparent 
from the parable itself, not merely to accommodate the feelings of the 
Jews to a few publicans ; but to anticipate the results which were 
likely to arise from the future spread of Christianity in the world, and 
attempt to prevent, by the sentiments contained in the parable, the 
indulgence of this feeling toward the Gentile world. It was by that 
they filled up their wickedness; and he who came unto his own en- 
deavoured, in his mercy to Israel, to prevent this by displaying the 
compassion of God to the least deserving of his sinful creatures ; and 
as it were, to shame man out of his prejudices and enmities, by repre- 
senting God as the common Father of both Jews and Gentiles, freely 
pardoning the most disobedient and thankless of his children, when- 
ever they bow at his feet, and in penitential sorrow say, " I have 
sinned." 

These were sentiments that might have melted the obduracy of 
Pharisaic pride; but they failed; and in failing they rendered the 
people inexcusable : and they who envied the mercy of God to others 
turned that mercy into justice in respect to themselves. 

To all ages the parable before us will remain as one of the most 
encouraging of the records of the compassion of God to sinners. It 
has given hope and faith to myriads of individuals of every country. 
They, too, have said, " I will arise and go to my Father ;" and they 
have been received with equal grace. Dead, they are alive ; lost, they 
are now found. It will have the like effect upon others ; for if there 
be a portion of God's word adapted to meet every apprehension which 
may agitate the breast of a penitent in his approaches to an offended 
God, it is this. 

The primary design of this parable is, however, intimately connected 
with the occasion on which we are met, — the anniversary of your mis- 
sionary society. The younger son is the Gentile world ; the elder son, 
the seed of Abraham. The disobedient conduct of the younger son, 
and its unhappy consequences, describe the religious rebellion of the 
Gentiles against God, and their consequent degradation and misery. — 
The return of the prodigal is the call of the Gentiles ; and the proud 
and unbending elder brother is the Jewish nation, earnestly expostu- 
lated with, and kindly entreated, by the Father of both ; but still rebel- 
lious, and, in return, forsaking the Father's house, and falling under 
his displeasure. 

In the interpretation of parables there is a rule, the neglect of which 
has often produced ridiculous comments and discourses ; and in other 
cases, such as are most mischievous. That rule is, that every part of 
a parable is not significant ; and that, therefore, to every part a mystical 
interpretation is not to be given. They are allegorical representations 
of spiritual and moral truths, put in the form of brief narrative. To 
render them complete, it is requisite that they should contain such a 
selection of circumstances as will convey the truth or truths intended ; 
and which will at the same time form an attractive and striking re- 
lation. Beside the circumstances designed to illustrate truth, there are 
often others which are introduced to fill up the story, and give it grace 

2 



202 THE PRODIGAL SON. [SERMON LXXXVII. 

and spirit. The latter are to be separated ; and to the former alone 
we are to confine our interpretations. Nor is this all. Even the sig- 
nificant circumstances can only bear a general, and not a minute and 
distorted resemblance to the doctrines taught ; because no spiritual 
things can, in all points, be represented by things natural. These are, 
therefore, to be interpreted generally ; and he who gives a loose to a 
vain imagination, in giving minute and particular means to every 
branch of a parable, only dishonours the truth of God. 

With these remarks, and with these cautions, we proceed to the ap- 
plication of this parable to the important object which has brought us 
together, — to consider the state of the Gentile world, and to stretch out 
our hands to their relief. 

We observe, 

I. That in this parable almighty God is represented as the common 
Father of all mankind, of Jew and Gentile. 

This is a principal article of religion ; and though it appears a very 
obvious one, it had been so greatly obscured or lost, that it needed a 
solemn republication. Had the Jews in our Lord's time retained the 
impression of this truth, they could never have indulged those feelings 
toward the Gentiles which he had occasion to reprove, and which 
rendered them so unlike their pious ancestors, the holy patriarchs. — 
Among the Gentiles themselves, the different races of men were con- 
sidered as essentially superior and inferior to one another. 

The doctrine of the Gospel is, that all men stand in the same rela- 
tion to God, as children of the same parent ; and that none of them are 
placed in circumstances of inferiority, as to their religious and moral 
condition, but in consequence of some judicial process, occasioned by 
rebellion and disobedience. This doctrine of the ancient Church of 
God was solemnly republished by Jesus Christ. He teaches us when 
we pray to say, " Our Father which art in heaven ;" and in our text he 
states that " a certain man had two sons." The apostle also adds, in 
the name of his great Master, God " hath made of one blood all nations 
of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." On this basis rests 
God's universal love. From this springs the universal benevolence of 
man. " Have we not all one Father ? Hath not one God created us?" 
The most distant and wretched prodigal may say to God, " My Father." 
The most distant and wretched prodigal is our brother. 

II. We are taught in the parable, that whatever inequalities there 
may be now in the religious advantages of mankind, they were once 
equal sharers in the benefits of the house of the common Father. 

Distant as the younger son is seen from his father's house, he, too, 
was once in it ; and, while he remained there, no distinction was made 
between him and his elder brother. 

This is not a matter of reasoning, but of history. From the flood to 
the call of Abraham centuries elapsed. Learned men are not agreed 
respecting the exact number. The lowest computation is about five 
hundred years ; the highest, about twelve hundred. During this period 
the elder and younger son both abode in the house. The patriarchs 
stood in the same relation to the future Jewish Church, and to the 
future Gentile races of men. Their privileges were then equal ; for 
both were under the instructions of the common Father. The common 
religion was shared by all the sons of Noah ; the promises were given 
2 



SERMON LXXXVII.] 



THE PRODIGAL SON. 203 



to them all ; the worship of God was established and practised among 
them ; sacrifices were offered, and pardons were obtained. delight- 
ful scenes of the early ages of the world, before idolatry and supersti- 
tion had deformed God's worship, and had shed their baneful influence 
unchecked upon society ! To these scenes there were even very early 
exceptions. Yet the fathers of the human race were the priests of 
their extensive households; and wherever they led their flocks, or 
built their cities, they erected the altars of their God. We may collect 
from what remained in later and worse ages, what was the state of 
things in those better times. Men walked with God ; prophets pre- 
dicted the appearance of the Messiah ; angels descended in vision ; 
and the elders poured forth the fulness of moral truth in tides of copious 
and glowing eloquence. The sons were in the house of their Father ; 
under the Father's instruction ; under his eye, and under his smile. 

III. We remark, that the distinction, as far as it was a religious 
one, between the Jew and the Gentile, was one created by the Gen- 
tiles themselves, and was not the act of God. 

This we are taught in the parable. The dereliction of the younger 
son was his own act. He was not thrust out of his father's house, 
but left it of his own accord. He said, "Give me the portion of goods 
that falleth unto me ;" and having obtained this, he " went into a far 
country." 

The father's house is the Church of God. It existed from the be- 
ginning ; for he ever had a faithful people, to whom the doctrines of 
truth were delivered, and among whom religious ordinances were 
established. It had, too, its restraints and discipline. Immorality of 
every kind was discountenanced and repressed ; worship, except in the 
prescribed form, was forbidden ; and the obedience of faith to revealed 
truth was inculcated and required. We have early indications of the 
disposition to revolt against parental authority ; to become insensible 
to parental goodness ; of uneasiness under the discipline and truth of 
the Church. Babel became one nursery of false religion, and Egypt 
another. Strange deities were worshipped by some of the progenitors 
of Abraham ; and thus the Gentiles began to go out of the Church of 
God, forming systems of religion of their own, profanely and wickedly 
despising the authority of God, and of the patriarchs who had walked 
with him. But Abraham was a faithful man ; and with him the cove- 
nant was established. His seed, though with many instances of re- 
bellion, remained in the Church of God, — the house of their Father, — 
and received, in successive ages, those new revelations of truth which 
would have been vouchsafed to all, had they not forsaken the Lord. 
They thus enjoyed a light shining more and more unto the perfect day ; 
while the rest of mankind were sinking, with every age, into grosser 
darkness, and deeper wretchedness. From that time " the elder bro- 
ther" was seen in the house of his Father ; and the " younger son" a 
voluntary outcast from his home. 

IV The parable affords us the true key to all the idolatry and false 
religion in the world. It is the pure offspring of a vicious heart. 

The circumstance which rendered the younger son uneasy under 
the discipline of his father's house was the restraint there put upon the 
evil propensities of his heart. He therefore frees himself from all 
restraint ; goes into a far country ; and spends his substance in riotous 

2 



204 THE PRODIGAL SON. [SERMON LXXXVII. 

living. This is, and has ever been the cause of the corruption of the 
true religion. 

It is not an easy task to trace the wanderings of error from the first 
departure of the mind from the truth of God ; but it is easy to discover 
the constant connection between increasing error and increasing vice. 
The more developed and systematic false religions have become, the 
more eminently have they ministered to the corruption of the heart ; 
and this leaves no doubt that they were thus ramified, and thus diver, 
sified and perfected, for the very end of so ministering to all that is 
corrupt in man. They have not arisen out of necessity. Men have not 
become vain in their imaginations, because they had not the means of 
knowing better, as some pretend ; but because they did not wish to be 
better informed. They did not like to retain God in their knowledge. 
This is their case, as laid down by the apostle. They had first the 
patriarchal religion, which none of them had ever wholly lost. Nations 
the most distinguished for their idolatry have always been in circum- 
stances to obtain benefit from the direct revelations of God, had they 
been disposed to avail themselves of them. All of them have seen the 
heavens declaring the glory of God, reproving their false deities ; and 
God has no where left himself without witness. They have shunned 
the light in all ages, because their deeds were evil ; and however varied 
have been the forms of their idolatry, they all bear the proofs of a 
common origin, the depravity of the heart. The hand of the same 
architect is impressed upon all their forms ; and that architect is vice. 
From Moloch to Juggernaut, from Baal to Vishnoo, from Jupiter to 
Brahma, every deity, every festival, all their orgies, all their principles, 
have been directed to one sole end, to bring man under the entire con- 
trol of polluted passions and appetites, and to extinguish every virtue 
that even the fall of man has left amidst the moral ruins of the human 
heart. He left his Father's house, to spend his substance " among 
harlots," and " in riotous living." 

V We are directed, in the parable, to the tenderness of the father 
in not suffering him to go away without suitable provision. 

He saw and lamented the rebellious and untoward disposition of his 
son ; yet he nevertheless " divided to him his portion." By this we 
are reminded of that affecting instance of the goodness of God to the 
Gentile world, in that, notwithstanding their early tendency to idolatry, 
notwithstanding that they voluntarily left his Church, he still bestowed 
upon them a portion of his truth, sufficient for their spiritual suste- 
nance and salvation. 

The " living" was divided ; and, for any thing that appears, equally 
so. When Abraham was first called, and for some time afterward, 
there was no great difference between the religious knowledge of his 
family, and that of others. Both had the first promise, " The Seed of 
the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." Both had the typical rite 
of sacrifice. Both had the knowledge of the one true God, of morals, 
and of immortality. Here, however, was the great difference : in the 
elder branch of the family the knowledge was increased : by the younger 
it was wantonly squandered away. And yet it was not squandered 
away all at once. There was a gradation in the fall and wretchedness 
of the young man mentioned in the parable ; and we see this exempli- 
fied in the history of the Gentiles. After the separation of the brothers 
2 



SERMON IXXXVII.] THE PRODIGAL SON. 205 

we see, in the younger branch, Melchizedek, the priest of the most 
hi°h God, who was, as his name indicates, " King of righteousness, 
and king of peace." And in the time of Abraham and Isaac we dis- 
cover traces of the knowledge and fear of God, both in Egypt and 
Canaan. Job and his friends were also of the younger family ; yet 
they had very sublime views of God, and correct views of moral duty, 
though under some mistakes respecting providence ; and Job himself 
knew that his Redeemer lived, and would stand at the latter day upon 
the earth. He also expressed his conviction that, although his body 
might be destroyed by worms, he should nevertheless in his flesh see 
God ; which unquestionably expresses his belief in the resurrection 
of the human body. Yet did the waste of the original portion proceed 
with awful pace. Egypt, in the time of Moses, was filled with idols ; 
and its sovereign both profanely and ignorantly asked, "Who is 
Jehovah ?" Even as early as the time of Job Arabia had its idolaters, 
who, seeing " the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in bright- 
ness," suffered their " hearts to be secretly enticed," and their " mouths 
to kiss their hands," in homage to those luminaries. In Canaan the 
iniquity of the Amorites was at length filled up ; and Israel was led 
over Jordan to avenge the quarrel of God. But we may still trace the 
waste down to the absolute want and wretchedness of the present day. 
Now and then we see a moral sentiment, a conception of the true God, 
beaming forth from the thickening darkness of nations ; as we may 
conceive the very rags of the prodigal to retain something of their 
original colour and texture, sufficient to indicate the rank from which 
he had fallen ; but insufficient to protect him from the cold, and too 
worthless to be exchanged for food to satisfy his hunger. Now, how- 
ever, the patrimony is wholly spent ; the last farthing of it is gone ; and 
the rags themselves have almost lost even the hue of original opulence. 
The knowledge of God, one of the first principles which enter the mind, 
and the last that forsakes it ; even that is nearly extinct. The follow- 
ers of Budhoo know and disown it. The more numerous followers of 
Brachma know and disregard it. To the tribes of Africa it is nearly 
or wholly lost ; and although those of pagan America hold it, it is un- 
connected with any other principle that can give it influence. How 
true are the words of the parable, " And he wasted his substance !" 

Nor is it to be overlooked, that it was the very substance given him 
by his father, that he made the instrument of his vices. This has been 
strikingly shown in the religion of the Gentiles. No man seeks error, 
as error, in religion. Error itself has no evidence, and therefore bor- 
rows that of truth. In all false systems of religion, we see the original 
revelations converted into the means of darkening the understanding, 
and polluting the heart. The original revelation of three persons in 
the Godhead, the Elohim, has been made to sanction the notion of 
gods many, and lords many. The doctrine of holy and of evil angels 
has been perverted into that of benevolent and malignant demons. 
The doctrine, that no man can be eminent and useful except by the 
inspiration of God, has been employed to raise eminent men into objects 
of worship as gods. The facts of sacred story have all been converted 
into monstrous and ridiculous fable. The doctrine of the resurrection 
was perhaps made to originate that of the transmigration of souls. 
And in the comparatively modern systems of India, we trace the in- 

2 



206 THE PRODIGAL SON. [SERMON LXXXVII, 

carnation of our Lord, and the facts of Christian, as well as of patri- 
archal history. 

Thus truth has been converted into a lie ; the heavenly substance, 
made to minister to vice ; and that which was ordained to life has 
become pollution, wretchedness, and death. 

VI. We are next conducted, by the parable, to the misery of the 
wretched youth who left the house of his father. 

He involved himself in poverty. His substance is gone ; he be- 
comes a slave ; and in his degradation he is sent into the fields to tend 
swine. He is perishing with hunger, and strives to satisfy himself 
with the husks that the swine did eat. On all these particulars we 
might dwell, as illustrated by the present state of the Gentiles ; but as 
the time will not allow, we shall confine our attention to the circum- 
stance which the prodigal himself mentions, "And I perish with hunger. " 
This, alas ! is the case of millions at this moment. The exceeding 
great famine has arisen, and spread over all the land. Two circum- 
stances are to be solemnly considered, — they hunger ; and having not 
the means of supplying that, they are in danger of perishing. 

They hunger for knowledge. 

It is not in the nature of the human soul to be satisfied with error, 
which brings no permanent evidence, especially religious error. The 
proof of this is, that where error reigns there is incessant change, an 
everlasting fluctuation of opinion ; and at every change the mazes 
only become more deep and intricate. There is no supply of truth for 
the mental appetite. The people gaze on darkness ; a horizon filled 
with clouds ; flitting, false, and transient meteors. The orb of truth 
is set, "and the stars withdraw their shining." The people "look for 
light, and behold darkness." 

They pine for rest of spirit. 

None feel more deeply than the heathen the want of atonement. 
One striking feature in the character of the Gentile world is, they all 
feel that they are under wrath. It abideth upon them. When shall 
the troubled conscience find peace 1 Mark their unavailing efforts to 
obtain it ; their bloody sacrifices, their painful pilgrimages, their horrid 
penances. These they offer to God ; and he rejects them. They 
then turn to Satan, to bribe him with gifts and honours, while he dark- 
ens their eyes more deeply, and revels in their miseries. All are husks 
that the swine did eat ; and the people strive to fill themselves in vain. 
Nothing but the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered 
himself without spot to God, can effectually purge the conscience from 
dead works. 

They pine for happiness. 

In this the soul of man is true to itself. For the rich pasture he has 
left, man bleats from instinct. He sighs for the bread in his Father's 
house. There is a good which man finds not. This proves the great 
truth, that he is not a source of happiness to himself. He looks 
abroad ; he joins himself to one creature or another, which he finds 
to be only a broken cistern, and soon abandons. Nothing but the 
enjoyment of God can satisfy the mind of man. All things beside this 
are mere husks that the swine eat. But if you, my brethren, hunger 
for this substantial food, it is not in vain. To you the heavens declare 
the true God, providence reveals him, and ministers preach him. But 
2 



SERMON LXXXVII.] THE PRODIGAL SON. 207 

the Gentile world may say, "I perish with hunger." To them the 
heavens do not declare him, though their sun shines as bright as ours ; 
and to their minds providence only appears as a conflict of various 
powers, concerning which they entertain the most crude and extrava- 
gant notions. Nor is there among them a man of a thousand to show 
them the things which belong to their peace ; no lover of Christ to say, 

" O let me commend my Saviour to you !" 

And are there among them no thoughts of the future, no hunger - 
ings after future bliss ? There are. The greatest labours, and most 
severe penances are directed to this. They have the painful thirst for 
happiness hereafter. They know that they must die ; but they know 
not where they shall find their destined place. Their glittering dreams 
vanish. " I have seen in none of them," says an observer, (Mr. Ward,) 
" any of the hope which is as an anchor of the soul." The doctrine of 
the transmigration of the soul is the most common among the hea- 
then ; and it inspires the most gloomy anticipations. To them all is 
dark. No light of immortality breaks upon the tomb. They have 
no joyous assurance that when they are " absent from the body" they 
shall be " present with the Lord." Proud, indeed, are many of their 
mausoleums, from the pyramids of Egypt to the massy structures of 
Hindostan. The learned have travelled to read the inscriptions upon 
these splendid erections. They have copied those inscriptions, and 
placed them on the pages of their own books. Go and read, and see 
if the hand of paganism ever recorded this consoling truth, " Blessed 
are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth : even so, saith 
the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours ; and their works do 
follow them." 

O sad and melancholy state of the millions of our race, to die with- 
out hope ! 

VII. But a brighter scene begins to unfold itself. It is presented 
to us in two parts : the repentance of the son, and the compassion of 
the father. 

" He came to himself." A sinful state has been justly considered 
a state of infatuation ; in which the understanding is darkened, the 
judgment perverted, the imagination dominant, as in madness itself. 
But this is no where so exemplified as in Gentilism. 

Is it madness when the plainest truth produces no conviction ? The 
world had a beginning, and therefore there is a God, by whom it was 
made. The pagan perceives not this obvious consequence. 

Is it madness when every appetite and passion displays itself with- 
out restraint ? Such is the state of the heathen. Check and control 
are not found in false religion. 

Is it madness to be furious and mischievous ? Then let the savage 
barbarity, the malignant cunning, the implacableness, the unmerciful- 
ness of pagans, present them to us as in this wretched condition. 

Is it madness to walk in an ideal world, filled with fantastic, pol- 
luted fearful images, of which there is not an archetype in nature and 
truth ! fcuch is paganism. All is imagination ; their gods, their mo- 
rals, their hopes, their fears, their joys. Of every heathen it may be 
said, « He walketh m a vain shadow, and disquieteth himself in vain." 
'•A deceived heart hath turned him aside ; neither hath he understand. 

2 



208 THE PRODIGAL SON. [SERMON LXXXVII. 

ing to deliver his soul, and to say, Is there not a lie in my right 
hand ?" 

From this state he awakes. But is this effect produced without 
the intervention of means? They are not mentioned in the parable, 
but left to be supplied by the mind of the reader. For when the para- 
ble was delivered, the time was not come for fully declaring that by 
the preaching among the Gentiles of the unsearchable riches of Christ, 
they were to be brought back to God. But the publicans and sinners, 
with respect to whom the parable was spoken, were not without means 
brought to Christ. They heard him preach ; they wondered at his 
words ; and they came to themselves. Of this we have several ex- 
amples, such as that of the Syrophenician woman, and of the woman 
that was a sinner. O no ! never will the Gentiles come to them- 
selves, never be awakened, but by the ministry of the Gospel. Some 
nations there are who have for ages been left to themselves ; but we 
find none among them who have returned to their Father, and reco- 
vered the primitive religion. I grant that, as the afflictions of the 
prodigal were a means of dispelling his delusion, so the wretchedness 
which paganism has induced in its subjects is an inward restlessness. 
They hunger, as we have seen : " The whole creation groaneth and 
travaileth in pain together until now." But in the heathen this feeling 
is indefinite ; it is a feeling after an unknown good. How should they 
return to their Father, before they know that one exists ? How should 
they return to a Father's house, the remembrance of which has faded 
away from their minds ; or hunger for the food which he has to give, 
till they know something of its nature, and are invited to partake 
of it? 

Have you not remarked, that the Gospel is the appointed means of 
awakening repentance in the heart ? " Repent ye," said Christ. " Re- 
pent ye," said Peter to the Jews. " Repent," said Paul to the Atheni- 
ans. Nor is there any other instrument which can produce it. For 
true repentance is not merely regret for sin, as an evil to be punished. 
The law can produce that : it is the natural effect of punishment upon 
base and uncorrected minds, and abounds in hell. But the repentance 
of the Gospel is conviction of the evil of sin as a transgression of the 
law which is holy, just, and good. It is holy shame ; love ; a sense 
of obligation ; hatred of sin, as sinful ; a softening, elevating, sanctify- 
ing principle. The Gospel produces this by the view which it gives 
of the Divine character. The love of God is the first recollection 
which it awakens in the mind of a wretched prodigal. He thinks of 
a Father, and of a Father's house, and of a happier state ; and to him 
that Father appears still compassionate ; and that Father's house is yet 
open to receive him. A flood of tenderness then pours itself into his 
spirit, and mingles with his shame and sorrow. His heart flies before 
his steps, and suffers him not to rest until he reaches his home, and at 
his Father's feet makes the confession, " I have sinned against Heaven, 
and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son." 

This effect is to be produced among the Gentiles by the operation 
of the same views ; but the views must be given by the preaching of 
the Gospel of the grace of God. They will be given wherever that 
Gospel is fully and faithfully declared. A God long rejected is still 
declared to be their Father ; the Father's house is ready to receive 
2 



SERMON LXXXVir.] THE PRODIGAL SON. 209 

every returning prodigal; the gate of access is set wide open ; and 
the promise of reconciliation is proclaimed What softening con- 
siderations are these to the exiled millions of the wretched family of 
the younger son ' Yes, when the Gospel shall be preached, all the 
love of the Father shall be displayed. The heavens declare his glory, 
and all nature spreads him to the sight. Their fruitful showers and 
seasons show his sun shining and his rain falling upon the unjust and 
the unthankful. But above all, they will know what that 1-ather has 
been doin°- even for them during their absence from his house, and 
while their willing darkness curtained them from his dispensations of 
truth and grace. They will learn that his beloved Son had died for 
them; that the house inhabited for ages by the elder branch of the 
family had been opened expressly for them ; that every preparation 
had been made for their return ; that messengers had been despatched 
to seek them, and to persuade them to come, for that all things were 
now ready ; that many had actually returned ; and that the Father's 
eye is even now looking out, with all the anxiety of love, for all the 
rest to follow their example ; his heart yearning over Simeon, who is 
not, and Benjamin, who is not. 

Here lies the power of the Gospel to bring men to themselves : and 
millions are the Gentiles who have already bounded at the sound, and, 
overwhelmed with distress and shame, have said, " I will arise and go 
to my Father." And the attempt to bring all nations to the same 
obedience of faith shall succeed. A sight more glorious than any that 
has yet been witnessed shall be seen, — a penitent world, prostrate before 
the great Father ; and God reconciled to his once disobedient offspring. 
Angels press around to survey the wondrous scene. 

The subject applies itself, 

1. To our fears. 

The case of the elder brother is instructive. The Jews, offended at 
the calling of the Gentiles, would not go in, and they still remain with- 
out. This elder brother, in his turn, is to be pitied. Ages have pass- 
ed over since his refusal ; and still he is without, brooding in discontent 
and malignity over the kind reception of the prodigal. No father's 
smile is upon him ; and he too is perishing with hunger. May God 
succeed the efforts which are made to subdue his prejudice and bring 
him in ! We may not sin precisely in the same manner that the Jews 
did in our Saviour's time, and yet may participate in their guilt. In- 
difference to the missionary work is almost as criminal as direct hos- 
tility. They were offended that Jewish missionaries were employed 
in attempts to convert the Gentiles, and bring them into the Church 
of God. If you oppose the same work, or are indifferent to it, you 
share in the guilt of their unfeelingness. What, though the African 
differs in 'his skin, and the Hottentot in his intellect, he is still thy 
brother. Though oceans divide thee from the distant savage, he is 
still thy brother. Beware of sinning against God by either opposing 
or standing aloof from that work of mercy which God is carrying on in 
the earth. 

2. To our pity. 

Who are we but branches of the younger part of the family already 
saved 1 Have we no pity for those who yet remain in yonder lands 
of darkness ? Have we just escaped the shipwreck, and can we be 

Vol. II. 14 



210 THE ASCENSION. [SERMON IXXXVIII. 

deaf to the cries of our drowning friends whom we have left behind, 
and who with shrieks and cries implore our aid ? You have this feel- 
ing of mercy. Here are the messengers of mercy ready to carry the 
joyful tidings. O assist them on their way ! 

3. To our joyous feeling. 

A thrilling sound of joy is raised by the Church when a lost brother 
is brought home. What then shall be the joy when myriads are brought 
home ! when a nation shall be born at once! when the world shall bow 
at the feet of our Saviour, and not a lost wanderer from God shall be 
found through all the earth ! 



Sermon LXXXVIII. — The Ascension. 



" Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive : thou hast re- 
ceived gifts for men ; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell 
among them," Psalm lxviii, 18. 

When Jesus Christ joined himself to the two disciples on their way 
to Emmaus, he explained to them the passages in the Psalms and in 
the prophets which related to himself; to his character and offices, to 
his sacrificial offering, and to the redemption of man by him. It 
would have been highly interesting to have been present at this con- 
versation. The comments of this infallible interpreter would have 
enabled us to understand many an important and difficult passage of 
Scripture. We need not suppose, however, that the substance of that 
conversation was lost. The two who heard it would, no doubt, report 
it to the other disciples ; and it would be among those things which 
the Spirit was to bring to the remembrance of those who were first to 
preach the Gospel to the world, and then to write the doctrines they 
preached in the imperishable records of Scripture. It is this circum- 
stance which makes the New Testament an infallible comment upon 
the Old. When any passage from the Old Testament is quoted in the 
New, and thus applied, by the authority of inspiration, to Christ, his 
character, offices, and work, we cannot be wrong in giving it an in- 
terpretation of which the apostles have supplied the principle. We 
cannot be wrong in explaining more fully, in their references to Christ, 
such passages as are represented as receiving their fulfilment in him. 
Of this number is the passage read as the text. It was written, in- 
deed, primarily on a different occasion, but i yet a very interesting one. 
The ark of God had now been some time in the house of Obed-edom, 
in comparative obscurity ; and David, in his pious zeal, resolved to re- 
move it, and place it upon Mount Zion, where, afterward, the temple 
of Solomon was built to receive it. It was removed in solemn pro- 
cession. On this occasion the words of the text were composed and 
sung : " Thou hast ascended on high." The ark, with the glory con- 
nected with it, constituted the symbol, the visible representation of the 
Divine presence ; and therefore doth the psalmist say, thus referring 
to the solemn procession which accompanied the ark as it was trium- 
phantly borne up to the sacred mount, " Thou hast ascended on high, 
thou hast led captivity captive." 
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SERMON LXXXVIII.] THE ASCENSION. 211 

The words, no doubt, had thus an important, but partial reference 
to the Jews ; but we take the authority of Paul, and consider the whole 
transaction as relating principally to our Lord's ascension into heaven. 
This is the application of the subject which he makes in the Epistle 
to the Ephesians. The ark, then, was a type of the sacred body of 
Jesus, the residence of Divinity itself. The ark had been, before its 
triumphant removal, in circumstances of humiliation and privacy ; and 
thus was represented that humiliation to which Christ submitted, be- 
fore he ascended to possess the glory which he had with the Father 
before the world was. The removal of the ark to Mount Zion was a 
great type of the ascension of our Lord to the throne of the universe ; 
and the blessings received by the children of Israel in consequence, 
represent those spiritual donations of victory and consolation which 
the Church of Christ receives in consequence of the exaltation of her 
Head. This seems to be the proper meaning of the passage, and of 
the circumstances M'ith which it was connected. 

I. We shall consider the fact here mentioned, " Thou hast ascended 
on high." 

II. We shall notice certain interesting circumstances connected 
with it. 

III. The particular circumstances of exaltation ascribed to Christ. 
IV The great results. 

I. The fact stated in the text : "Thou hast ascended on high." 
This was literally fulfilled in the person of our Lord. After having 
lived awhile on earth ; after having offered his body as a sacrifice for sin ; 
after having been raised from the dead ; after having shown himself 
alive to his disciples by many infallible proofs ; then he led them out 
as far as Bethany, and, in the presence of the whole Church, then col- 
lected together, he was taken up into heaven. 

This fact is proved by evidence the same as that by which the other 
principal facts of the New Testament are proved. It is the accom- 
plishment of prophecy. Such important predictions as we find in the 
text would not otherwise have been fulfilled. If this fact have not 
occurred, "then is our faith vain, we are yet in our sins." Had he 
not been incarnated, he could not have died ; had he not been raised 
from the dead, we should not have had the assurance of the acceptance 
of his sacrifice ; and had he not ascended into heaven, he would not 
have appeared in the presence of God for us, nor received of the Fa- 
ther the promise of the Holy Ghost. Had there existed a Church, she 
Avould still have been in tears, comfortless, and destitute of the spirit- 
ual presence of her Lord. The fact rests on the evidence of credible 
witnesses. It is one in which they could not be mistaken. That is 
allowed on all hands. And that they were honest in their statements 
respecting both the resurrection and ascension, is proved by the whole 
of their character, and the way in which they sealed their testimony 
by their sufferings and death. A person's dying for an opinion does 
not necessarily prove that opinion to be true. But the apostles died, 
not for an opinion, but in attestation of facts. When a man suffers and 
dies to attest facts which he had sufficient means of ascertaining, hav- 
ing no worldly interests to serve in exhibiting and recommending them, 
his sufferings and death give the strongest attestation to the facts, be- 
cause they prove the sincerity of the witness, and that in a point on 

2 



212 THE ASCENSION. [SERMON LXXXVIII. 

which he could not be mistaken. But the proof that Jesus Christ as- 
cended into heaven did not rest merely on the testimony of the apos- 
tles. It was exhibited before all the dwellers at Jerusalem who had 
come together on the day of pentecost, and were witnesses of that great 
miracle, the gift of tongues. All that were then the disciples of Christ 
were known to be illiterate men and women. They were the same 
who had witnessed his ascension ; they had been tarrying at Jerusa- 
lem, that they might be endued with power from on high. The ap- 
pointed time came ; the Spirit was poured out on the whole body of 
the Church, and they all spake with tongues, as the Spirit gave them 
utterance. And in reference to the gift of the Spirit, the fact of the 
ascension is daily receiving fresh accessions of evidence. He pro- 
mised, while in the world, that when he went to the Father he would 
send the Comforter, who should abide with the Church for ever. Now, 
all those who believe in him, thus put the truth of his religion to the 
test ; and they are not disappointed. Believing in him, they received 
a power which they were conscious they did not possess before ; a 
power to break off their sins ; a power which changed all their prin- 
ciples, and gave a new direction to all their desires ; which inspired 
strength, and gave consolation and rich enjoyment ; which produced a 
radical moral change ; elevated their affections to things spiritual and 
heavenly, and made them new creatures in Christ. Every time they 
receive an increase of this moral strength, which enables them to com- 
bat their foes, and to obtain the victory through a power which they 
feel is not their own, so often do they feel the proof, both that their 
Lord is risen from the dead, and that he hath ascended on high and 
received gifts for men. 

II. After these observations on the fact itself, let us consider some 
of the circumstances attending it. 

Some of these are given in the narrative of the evangelists ; and 
some are added in the text, and other parts of the psalm. 

The evangelist tells us that Jesus Christ led his disciples out as far 
as Bethany, and that he lifted up his hands and blessed them. There 
is an importance in this circumstance which will justify remark. It 
is not merely that he led them to Bethany, although this is remarkable. 
There is something interesting in this choice of the place from which 
he should ascend to heaven. It was the residence of the family which 
he honoured with his friendship, and from which he had received such 
marked attention ; the place where dwelt Martha, and Mary, and La- 
zarus, whom he loved. But the circumstance which appears to me to 
be most important is this, that he "lifted up his hands and blessed 
them." We see the temper in which he left the world ; a world which 
despised and rejected him ; and a world which clamoured for his blood, 
and shed it. Yet we see him, in leaving the world, manifesting the 
same spirit which was so evident on the cross, when he said, " Father, 
forgive them, for they know not what they do." His last act when he 
left the world was to lift up his hands and bless. 

We are not to suppose that this blessing was for the apostles merely. 
The blessing was deposited with them, but intended for the world. At 
the same time he commanded them to go into all the world, and preach 
the Gospel. In virtue of the blessing he gave them, they went ; and 
others were blessed through them. And this is a blessing that has 
2 



SEKMON IXXXVin.] THE ASCENSION. 213 

been continued to the world from that time to the present. The bless- 
ing of Christ still rests on his Church ; and his gracious intention is, 
that by his Church it should be distributed among " all nations, and 
kindreds, and people, and tongues." ,..,.,. A • c , 

Another interesting circumstance connected with this event is found 
in the declaration of the angels after Christ had been received up into 
heaven, and a cloud had concealed him from the sight of them who 
were henceforth to see him no more till their mortal nature had put on 
immortality. While they were following their ascending Lord with 
their eager sight, angels appeared unto them, and said, " Ye men of 
Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, 
which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner 
as ye have seen him go into heaven." We are thuo taught that his 
future coming to judgment is connected with the facts of his past mor- 
tal life. It is well for us to look back to examine these facts. Faith, 
and hope, and love, receive new life from these devout meditations on 
the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord. 
We are, however, especially taught to connect with his ascension into 
heaven the expectation of his coming again. As often as we contem- 
plate the fact of his ascending on high, so often should we be remind- 
ed that in like manner he shall come, with his holy angels, that he 
may sit on the throne of judgment, and decide on the eternal condition 
of mankind. Let us write this on our hearts ; let us recollect that for 
all the help derived from the influences of his Spirit, all the knowledge 
derived from the ministry of the word, all the opportunities we possess 
of acquainting ourselves with God, and making our calling sure, every 
one shall have to give account to that same Jesus who ascended up on 
high, and shall in like manner come again that he may judge the world 
in righteousness. But, 

III. The text furnishes some particulars not found in the history. 
The apostles saw what was transacted on this side the cloud ; the 
psalmist, in the spirit of prophecy, saw what took place beyond it. 
"Thou hast ascended up on high, thou hast led captivity captive." We 
have here an allusion to the ancient practice of military triumphs. A 
successful commander, on his return from his conquests, was honoured 
with a triumph. Let us suppose, in order to illustrate the text, that a 
province in some extensive empire is in a state of rebellion. A com- 
mander is sent to reduce it to subjection and obedience. He succeeds, 
and takes the heads of the revolt prisoners. He calls it leading cap- 
tivity captive. He fastens them to his chariot wheels, as he returns 
to the metropolis of the empire, and receives gifts which he distributes 
among his followers. Apply this to our Lord's ascension. What pro- 
vince in the vast dominions of God is in a state of rebellion ? Can 
we hesitate as to the answer we should give when we recollect the 
history of the world ? Look at its present state. Mark the enmity 
of the human heart against the authority and law of God. Here we 
have the province in which rebellion has reared up its standard against 
the Majesty of heaven. Who, then, were the leaders of the rebellion 
brought into captivity by Jesus Christ, and led captive by him when 
he ascended in triumph? Doubtless, the fallen spirits; those who 
were suffered to have access to man as his seducers, and who succeed- 
ed in alienating his heart from God. No man, believing the Bible, can 

2 



214 THE ASCENSION. [SEHMON LXXXVIII. 

doubt this. Satan is the god of the wicked ; and he who doubts the 
doctrine of diabolical agency, may doubt any other doctrine in the Bi- 
ble. Who was the person appointed to counteract the power of Satan, 
to rescue rebellious, but seduced and deceived man, and to turn him 
from darkness to light, and the power of Satan unto God ? Christ him. 
self, the well beloved Son of God. Where was the battle contested ? 
Cheifly in Gethsemane and on Calvary. What were the arms he em- 
ployed to secure the conquest 1 He went alone without the camp. 
He took the most singular, but the most successful, means to make the 
victory his own. He conquered the might of Satan by seeming weak- 
ness, and gained the victory by submitting to apparent defeat, and sur- 
rendering his own life. This is the language of Scripture. Through 
death he deposed him that had the power of death, and delivered them 
who through fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage. 
Then, when he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost, he acquired a 
power to break the yoke from the neck of all who should believe in 
him. He led captivity captive. It is true, he seemed for a time to 
be under the power of his enemies ; but then, when he rose again from 
the dead, the victory was seen to be complete and glorious. Then was 
all power given to him in heaven and earth. And his work on earth 
being thus finished, he returned to the home he had left. He ascend- 
ed up on high, leading captivity captive, and receiving those gifts for 
men which have been conferred on his Church, even to the present 
time. Spoiling principalities and powers, he triumphed over them 
openly, making a show of them. 

IV We proposed to consider the results of the whole. He " received 
gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might 
dwell among them." 

I have already told you, that there is an allusion here to those gifts 
which military commanders received, when they returned successful, 
paid to them out of the public treasury, for the purpose of being distri- 
buted among theii' followers. But in this warfare Christ had no asso- 
ciates. He trod the wine press alone. His own arm brought salvation, 
and his right hand sustained him. What then 1 He received gifts ; 
but, as he had no helpers, he could not receive gifts for them. Pitying. 
therefore, the rebellious, those who had been enslaved by Satan, and 
held in captivity under the power of sin and death, he received gifts 
for them. Yes ; while his was the glory of the victory and triumph, 
the benefit was for man. He " received gifts for men, yea, for the 
rebellious also, that the Lord God," as reconciled to them by the death 
of his Son, " might dwell among them." 

These gifts are all comprehended in that one great gift, the influences 
of the Holy Spirit. We might branch out the general subject into 
many particulars ; but they would all come to this, inasmuch as from 
this one every other receives its efficacy. 

When he gave the Spirit, he gave the word ; for the Spirit brought 
to the remembrance of the apostles all things which they were to record. 
They were to write the words, and to announce the will, of Christ ; 
and the Spirit was given them to lead them into all truth. So that all 
the directions and promises of the New Testament take the same 
character ascribed to the Old ; and these holy men, too, spake as they 
were moved by the Holy Ghost. Thus are the words of Christ, which 
2 



SERMON LXXXVIII.] THE ASCENSION. 215 

we possess, spirit and life. The best human compositions possess not 
that impressiveness, that power, those heart-searching qualities, that 
comforting influence, which our Scriptures possess, and that because 
they are the word of God. " The word of God is quick and powerful, 
and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing 
asunder of soul and spirit; and is a discerner of the thoughts and in- 
tents of the heart." The word is but the expression of the mind of 
God, accompanied by the sacred influence which first gave it, and 
which only can render it effectual. What an amazing gift is this ! 
And this is one of the fruits of the ascension. It is not only a perfect 
revelation of the truth ; but is accompanied always with the special 
presence and agency of its great Author, that it may accomplish his 
holy and merciful purposes in the hearts of them that believe. 

Let it be observed, that there is a two-fold operation, in order to 
make the word of God the instrument of our salvation. Christ said 
to Paul, " I send thee to the Gentiles, to open their eyes, and to turn 
them from darkness to light." The efficacy of the word depends on 
the accompanying Spirit ; but, his sacred influences being promised, 
the word, as the instrument, is represented as producing the designed 
effect. Without those influences, the word would be a mere idea, and 
the annunciation of it a powerless letter. *He has given the light, the 
light of saving truth ; and he opens the closed eyes, and thus enables 
man to perceive the truth, and, with an humbled heart, to turn to the 
light which he had so long refused, for the sake of the darkness he 
loved so well. 

In consequence of the ascension of Christ, we have not only the gift 
of the word, but the ministry too. When he ascended on high, " he 
gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some 
pastors and teachers ; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work 
of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." And the effi- 
cacy of the ministry, as well as of the word, depends entirely on the 
accompanying influence of the Divine Spirit. Paul planteth, Apollos 
watereth ; but it is God which giveth the increase. The reason that 
the preaching of Christ crucified is the power of God unto salvation 
is not merely that Christ is preached, not merely that there is a full 
announcement of the truth ; but because with this doctrine, and with 
this alone, God's own living influence is connected. One special office 
of the Spirit is, to testify of Christ ; and when Christ is faithfully 
preached, the Spirit testifies of him, applies his truth in power to the 
soul. O let us be thankful for this. In consequence of the ascension 
of Christ, we have the ministry, not of a dead letter, but of a word 
made quick and powerful by the influence which accompanies it. — 
" Lo," said he, " I am with you alway." His Gospel is preached ; 
and he is there to make it spirit and life. 

Farther : not only is there the word, and the ministry of it, but a 
special influence of the Spirit, as distinct both from one and the other. 

There is that operation of the Spirit by which men are put into a 
capacity to repent when they hear the word. If that were not the 
case, how, then, should God judge the world for not believing in Christ ? 
Wherever the Gospel is preached, it is not only preached with the 
influences of the Spirit, but the same Spirit is given to prepare men to 
receive the message. And where the message is not received, there 

2 



216 THE ASCENSION. [SERMON LXXXVIII. 

is a resistance of the Holy Ghost. This constitutes the guilt of im- 
penitent man. "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." 
They had received those preparing influences which gave them moral 
power ; but they would not come to him. They resisted the Spirit in 
their hearts, the quickening, convincing Spirit, as well as that same 
Spirit in the word. 

There is that gracious work of the Spirit by which he testifies to 
those who have returned to God, and sought salvation in the prescribed 
way, that is, by faith in Christ, their pardon and adoption. It is he 
who inspires the gift of faith, and gives to the believer the undoubted 
witness that God is reconciled. " The Spirit itself beareth witness 
with our spirit that we are the children of God." We are not called 
to live in doubt and darkness, as to our acceptance with God. And 
then, there is the illumination by which we are shown the work of 
Christ on the heart, and enabled to conclude that we are in him, be- 
cause we are new creatures. Religion brings its own evidence with 
it. It is light throughout. He who has it is reconciled to God, has 
the love of God shed abroad in his heart, and is enabled to rejoice in 
hope of the glory of God. 

To the operation of this Divine Spirit, this precious gift of Christ, 
we owe all our ability to think, and speak, and act, according to the 
will of God. The whole of that sanctity by which the soul is prepared 
for the heaven to which Christ has ascended is his gift, and given in 
consequence of his ascension. Whoever knows himself, knows well 
that in him there dwelleth no good thing. The power to pray ; to think 
aright ; to speak acceptable words, and to do acceptable actions ; to 
subdue all that is earthly and sinful ; to cherish all that is heavenly 
and holy; — all this results from the ascension of Christ. He pours the 
Spirit upon men from on high, and makes the barren wilderness a 
fruitful field ; and strengthening them thus with might in the inner man, 
he enables them to comprehend with all saints that love which passeth 
knowledge, that they may be filled with all the fulness of God. 

And thus, by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, is the Divine 
presence ever with his Church, and in the hearts of all who believe, 
but who were once rebellious. This union with God, too, is designed 
to prepare them for that more perfect and intimate union which shall 
be experienced by the saints in light. He that sitteth upon the throne 
shall dwell among them ; and in his presence shall they find fulness 
of joy, and pleasures for evermore. 

Allow me now, in conclusion, to make a reflection or two. 

1. When Jesus Christ was exalted to the right hand of the Father, 
it was that he might receive honours, as well as that he might bestow 
blessings. 

God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above 
every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. When 
God set his Son upon his holy hill of Zion, he not only said, " And let 
all the angels of God worship him," but declared this to be his will, 
that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. 
This, then, leads me most seriously to inquire of you, as in the pre- 
sence of God, of you, whose memories have now been refreshed as to 
the ascension of your Saviour into heaven, whether you have thus 
honoured the Son, thus submitted to his government and control, thus 
2 



SERMON IXXXVIII.J THE ASCENSION. 217 

sought to be conformed to his image 1 Have you yet been brought to 
call Jesus Lord, to the glory of God 1 In this subject we are all deeply 
interested. None can thus call Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 
And thus to call him Lord, supposes that we make him, as to ourselves, 
all that he claims to be. He is the Lord of our conduct. He has the 
right to govern us in all circumstances, and to direct all our actions. 
He is Lord of our affections. He must be the object of our supreme 
regard. We are required to consider ourselves as the servants of this 
exalted Lord, and bound to engage in this service with all our heart 
and soul, and for the whole of our life. 

You, then, who have lived according to the course of this world, in 
open violation of the Divine laws, rejecting the influences of the good 
Spirit of God ; who have lived under the power of sin, submitting your- 
self to the prince of this world, and his usurped dominion, instead of 
him to whom you and all creatures owe allegiance ; you who are still 
in actual rebellion against God, notwithstanding all that he has done 
for you ; though your Lord poured out his blood for you, and died that 
you might never die ; though he rose again, and has ascended into 
heaven to be there your Mediator and Advocate ; though he has obtained 
all these wondrous gifts, in order to accomplish your salvation ; yet 
are you still rebellious. You arm yourselves against him, and oppose 
his rightful claim. Instead of being his disciples, you are still of the 
world, still among those over whom shall, by and by, be stretched the 
rod of iron, instead of the sceptre of mercy. O put this case to your 
consciences. Ask yourselves the question, " Whether do I oppose the 
claims of Christ, or yield myself to his authority?" You have been 
called to behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the 
world ; to view his condescension and kindness ; but the time is at 
hand, when you shall see him coming in his glory. You shall see him 
coming in that wrath which is most terrible, which can never be 
quenched, which burns to the lowest hell ; that fearful wrath, called so 
emphatically, "The wrath of the Lamb." Thus shall you see him, 
and wail because of him. Well was it said, " Kiss the Son, lest he 
be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but 
a little." Turn to him, while yet that wrath delays, and he will have 
mercy upon you. 

2. I observe, that none of us have any proof of our being properly 
in subjection to Christ, and as being his indeed, unless we have re- 
ceived his gifts. " He received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious 
also, that the Lord God might dwell among them." 

It is easy enough now to say to Christ, " Lord, Lord !" There is 
nothing difficult in professing his religion in the present day ; nothing 
difficult in making a great parade about the orthodoxy of your opinions, 
in attending the ordinances of his house. Where is the shame of this ? 
where the cross we take up 1 All these are no proofs, either to others 
or to ourselves, that we are his. We must look for less delusive ones. 
We must ask whether the Lord God dwells among us. Is his sacred, 
hallowing presence in our hearts, softening our tempers, rectifying our 
wills, impressing his own image on our nature ? Are we thus person- 
ally partakers of the spiritual gifts of Christ ? If we have not the 
spirit of Christ, we are none of his. Let me press this subject upon 
you. We may well say, in the present day, this day of general pro- 

2 



218 LIFE IN CHRIST. [SERMON LXXXIX. 

fession, " Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for 
our father;" to boast of your Church privileges, or of your orthodoxy, 
or liberality, or zeal ; " for God is able of these stones to raise up chil- 
dren unto Abraham." Now is the axe laid to the root of the tree. — 
Recollect, he baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. Here is the proof that 
we are his. If we are living under the baptism of Christ, there will 
be in us the sin-consuming, the soul-purifying Spirit. 

3. If Christ has thus ascended into heaven, let the humble believer 
in him never cease, all the way he goes across the wilderness of life, 
to remember that he has a Friend in heaven, an Advocate above. 

The gifts he has to bestow are not exhausted. All those spiritual 
blessings which he has imparted to his Church from the beginning are 
but portions of that infinity to which we have all access. It has 
pleased the Father that in him should dwell all the fulness of the God- 
head. All we want is in him. Strength, light, comfort, victory over 
our enemies, Christ can give us ; for he has led captivity captive, and 
received gifts for men. And this fact, so calculated to encourage all 
who trust in him, love him, and serve him, does likewise prove the ac- 
countableness and guilt of all who reject his salvation. If they were 
not able to obtain the victory over evil by the power which Christ is 
willing to impart ; if it were necessary for them to sin, and it could 
not be avoided ; then their plea of excuse might be allowed. But cap- 
tivity is led captive ; sin is condemned in the flesh ; and victory is 
promised to all who contend. Spring up, then, to the contest, and 
through your conquering Lord, you shall conquer too. 

Let not these doctrines be lost on your minds. Enter the field of 
conflict, and fight the good fight of faith. Fix your eye on him who 
has overcome, and is now set down on the throne of his Father. Hear 
him saying to you, and be encouraged, " To him that overcometh will 
I give to sit down with me on my throne ; even as I have overcome, 
and am set down with my Father on his throne." Thus shall the Lord 
God dwell among us for ever. 



Sermon LXXXIX. — Life in Christ. 



" In him was life," John i, 4. 

The other evangelists introduce their narratives with an account 
of the birth and humanity of Christ : St. John, full of the high charac- 
ter of his Lord, begins with his divinity. 

There is a striking resemblance between the opening of the book 
of Genesis and the opening of this Gospel : the same Divine person is 
spoken of in both places, and in both creation is ascribed to him ; only 
the Creator is here introduced as performing another and higher act, 
that of redemption. 

Jesus Christ is here called the Word, because he made known to 
men the revelations of God. He is also denominated God ; by which 
term absolute divinity is to be understood ; for he is said to have been 
" in the beginning," and therefore eternal ; and the creation of all 
things is ascribed to him. Yet was he distinct from the Father ; for 
2 



SERMON LXXXIX.] LIFE IN CHKIST. 219 

he was "with God." The language used by the evangelist presents 
two ideas ; distinct personality, and unity or sameness of essence. — 
This doctrine we are bound to believe on the testimony of inspiration : 
There is in the Godhead a personal distinction and an essential unity. 
We know the fact, and adore the mystery. So firmly, Christians, does 
your faith rest upon Christ as a Divine person ; and it is full of com- 
fort. The arm you repose upon is no't the arm of a creature : were it 
such, you would sink in the time of your greatest need and trial. You 
may indeed rejoice in the greatness of his power : strong is his arm, 
and high is his right arm, and his merit is infinite. Were he less than 
God, he could neither redeem you by his death, nor save you by his 
grace. The words of the text are a farther prosecution of the apostle's 
argument for the Godhead of the Saviour; but they open to us other 
and interesting views of the glory and greatness of the eternal Word ; 
and to these I call your attention. " In him was life." 

I. Life in him is original and independent life. 

This marks, with the utmost certainty, the divinity of his nature. — 
It cannot be said of any other being, in the same sense in which it was 
said of him, " In him was life." The expression cannot mean that he 
was animate merely, for that would not be distinctive ; but that in him 
was life as its origin and source, — unoriginated and essential life. — 
Other beings have life, but it is not in them as a natural and independ- 
ent principle : it is not in them as the stream is in the fountain, but 
as it is in the channel. 

The body has life, but not in itself. The body of Adam was formed 
before life was communicated to it ; and all its parts existed before 
they were compounded into a body. Life may depart, and yet all the 
organization of the body remain complete still. Nor even has the 
soul life in itself; it has no natural immortality: this is contrary to 
Scripture, which declares that God " only hath immortality ;" and 
that "in Him we live, and move, and have our being," our whole 
being. 

But the text calls our attention to a Being whose nature it is to live ; 
and who would live were all beings beside annihilated. " Thou, Lord, 
in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth ; and the heavens 
are the work of thy hands. They shall perish ; but thou remainest ; 
and they all shall wax old as doth a garment ; and as a vesture shalt 
thou fold them up, and they shall be changed : but thou art the same, 
and thy years shall not fail." 

II. A second glory of Christ is, that he is the source of life to every 
thing that lives. 

This is one of the views under which David considers Jehovah, to 
whom he says, " With thee is the fountain of life." The giving of life 
is one of the most surprising instances of Divine power; and, like the 
bringing of a thing out of nothing, at once it convinces the judgment 
that he who can give life must be God himself. 

See this display of Divine power in vegetable life. Unsightly seeds 
are cast into the earth ; they unfold, change their form into one that is 
totally different, and produce every variety of scent and beauty. See 
it in animal life. Man can make images of things ; he can give grace 
and expression to statues, but no life ; no united power of the creatures 
can produce this ; here is the proof of human weakness. But see the 

2 



220 LIFE IN CHKIST. [SERMON LXXXIX. 

work of God : Adam is raised from the dust ; he moves at his own will ; 
he sees, hears, tastes, smells, feels ; he handles and ascertains the forms 
and distances of things. 

See it, above all, in intellectual life. Here we behold all the won- 
ders of knowledge, judgment, reasoning, memory, imagination, the high 
thoughts, the swelling feelings, the boundless improvement, of which the 
mind of man is capable. 

If life is given by Christ, then Christ is God. 

III. Christ is " the life," as St. John calls him, because with him 
alone it lay to reverse the sentence of condemnation, and give life to a 
condemned world. 

This is a deeply important subject ; and it is no less in proof of di- 
vinity than the other. The exclusive power to give life to the condemned 
was often claimed by Christ : "I am the bread of life ;" "The bread 
of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the 
world." "This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a 
man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came 
down from heaven : if a man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever ; 
and the bread which I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the 
life of the world." 

To enter into this subject, let us observe, that as all men have sin- 
ned, by the law of God they are subject to the punishment of death : 
law cannot, in its own nature, admit of pardon ; were it to admit of 
this, it would cease to be law. It is the peculiar scheme of the Gos- 
pel to answer the demand of law by substitution. An adequate sub- 
stitute cannot be a creature, because a creature can do nothing beyond 
his duty ; an adequate substitute must be one who is not naturally 
under the law, because his merit only can be transferable to others - , 
a Divine substitute is the only reason for turning away the demands 
of the law from the person who is actually guilty. Who, then, shall 
be found to undertake the redemption of lost mankind but Jesus? "la 
him was life ;" and to him we may truly say, " The help did in thy 
bosom lie ;" nor could any other have accomplished the mighty task. 
Some say it is presumptuous to assert that the world could be redeem- 
ed and saved by no other means than the sacrificial death of the incar- 
nate Son of God : but if a finite price were sufficient, an infinite one 
was superfluous. If God gave his own Son, the case was extreme, 
and no less a ransom would have been available : " In him," and in 
him only, " was life" for a world placed by sin under the sentence of 
eternal death. 

IV. The Word incarnate and glorified is the source of spiritual 
life. 

This life is a distinct principle, and results flow from it very different 
from those which flow from either animal or intellectual life. To prove 
this, only a few remarks will be necessary. 

Take the instance of that change which renders a man what we call 
religious. Lately he regarded only earthly things ; why does he now 
seek God, grace, and heaven ? As an animal, no change has taken 
place in him ; and as an intellectual being, he is the same that he was 
before ; nor, perhaps, has he received any new information : yet the 
truth which he before knew now affects him very differently from what 
it did ; it has turned his heart to God. What is the cause ? The 
2 



SERMON tXXXIX.] "FE IN CHRIST. 221 

apostle answers, « And you hath he quickened, who were dead in tres- 

passes and sins." , 

Take the case of conscience. Intellectually, a distinction between 
moral good and evil exists in the mind ; and a judgment of things is 
formed by this standard. To the broader vices some distaste is 
shown • and for the ordinary virtues, which affect the interests of 
men, some approval is cherished and expressed. But this is not the 
conscience of a Christian. It hates evil, because evil is hateful in 
itself, and hateful to God. It shrinks from sin universally, and delights 
in universal holiness. This is no new power added to the intellect ; 
and perhaps is not attended by any great increase of knowledge.— 
How,«»then, has conscience become so tender and so discriminating? 
Christ has become the life of the man. The whole secret lies 

here. 

Take the case of faith. Before the change in question took place, 
the faith of the individual was mere assent ; now it is effort and trust, 
in order to attain the good offered in the promises. 

Take prayer. It is desire, ardent desire, which will not turn away 
from the pursuit till the blessing is obtained. " I will not let thee go, 
except thou bless me." 

Take love to God. It is no longer mere sentiment, but ardent 
affection, which delights in him, and maintains ceaseless intercourse 
with him, by acts of faith and holy desire. 

Take benevolence to man. It fixes upon his highest interests, 
weeps over a fallen spirit, or rejoices with the angels when a sinner 
repenteth. 

These are high principles and feelings. The reality, the joys, and 
the sanctities of religion are all founded upon them. They all show a 
new, a most important and blessed principle introduced into the heart of 
man. This we call spiritual life. The source of it is Christ ; for 
" the Son quickeneth whom he will." " In him was life." 
V Life is the sense of vigour and energy. 

We have a beautiful representation of this in the parable of the 
vine and the branches. United to Christ, as the branch is united 
to the vine, there is that in man which raises him above all that he is 
as man, and invests him, in fact, with what I may justly call a super- 
natural character. 

Tell me, is it in man, as man, to cease from sin ? But he that is 
dead with Christ, by virtue of a spiritual crucifixion, and alive from the 
dead by the power of the resurrection, is " free from sin," so that it 
no longer has dominion over him. 

Tell me, is it in man, as man, to find his highest pleasures in things 
Divine and spiritual ? Look at the fact, the coldness with which they 
are regarded even by those who do not contemn them; and the eager 
pursuit of earthly things, as necessary to happiness. Here you see 
man as man. But the supernatural man exhibits a marvellous eleva- 
tion of thought and feeling. He can no more rest in these low things 
than an angel can ; and, like an angel, his only bliss is in beholding 
and adoring God. 

Tell me, is it in man, as man, to love his enemies, and to bless his 
persecutors 1 Yet this is the lofty character which is given to him to 
whom Christ is the life. He meditates upon the wrongs which he 

2 



222 LIFE IN CHRIST. [SEEMON LXXXIX. 

has received ; but they awaken neither anger nor malice, but a deeper 
pity, a tenderer compassion for the offenders. 

Tell me, again, is it in man, as man, to regard afflictions and 
infirmities with any other sentiment than that of grief and anxiety, in 
even the most philosophical? Was ever any thing above mere resig. 
nation ever looked for? and was not this regarded as a virtue of a high 
and rare class ? But the men in whom Christ lives " glory in tribula. 
tion." Hear St. Paul on this subject: "We glory in tribulation, 
knowing that tribulation worketh patience ; and patience, experience ; 
and experience, hope ; and hope maketh not ashamed ; because the 
love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is 
given unto us." For the removal of the thorn in the flesh he betfbught 
the Lord thrice, when he received as an answer, " My grace is suffi- 
cient for thee." He felt as a man ; but when he found that it was the 
will of his Lord, rather to help him in affliction, than to deliver him out 
of it, he says, " Most gladly will I rather glory in my infirmities, that 
the power of Christ may rest upon me." 

I ask, finally, is it in man, as man, to look without dread on death? 
or if he be passive, is death to him an object of hope and desire? Yet 
to this the grace of Christ has raised man ; and I know of nothing that 
proves more fully that this grace is in truth that which man cannot 
have by nature. " I would riot live always," says an ancient saint. 
" Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ," says the Christian 
apostle. Many reasons generally exist to lead a Christian to desire to 
live ; and weak faith will always diminish the love of heaven ; but 
when the scene approaches, and his work is manifestly done, then the 
principle of which we speak rises in all the majesty of its triumph over 
death ; and while others are dragged through the dark portal which 
leads into eternity, as slaves and prisoners, he passes through as a 
sharer in the victory of his Lord. 

Such is the life which Christ imparts ; such the mighty and elevating 
energy which that life gives to the human soul. 

I need not dwell upon the fact, that Christ is the administrator of 
eternal life. The resurrection of the body, and the immortality of the 
soul, are both from him. " God hath given us eternal life, and this 
life is in his Son." 

Some practical conclusions must now close our illustrations of this 
subject. It teaches, 

1. The importance of the Gospel to us. 

It is the promulgation of the doctrine of life. It shows what is 
possible, and how it may be attained. All we know, or can know, on 
these subjects, in the present life, is derived from the Gospel, which 
has " brought life and immortality to light," and which its Author has 
commanded should be preached to every creature. 

2. The design of the Gospel, however made known to you, is to 
induce you to think on these subjects, and to resolve to seek the 
grace of life, according to the Divine will, and the order which God 
has established. 

O receive not this truth in vain ! 

3. The means of obtaining life from Christ is simply that of 
" coming" to him. 

" Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life," was his com- 
2 



SEKMON XC] PARABLE OF THE VIRGINS. 223 

plaint to the ancient Jews. We are to come, that we may receive. 
How affectingly free and gracious are his invitations and promises ! 
Hear his voice, ye penitents and weak believers ; and draw near to 
him, that he may give you life eternal. And let the strongest believer 
remember that there is more abundant life in Christ than he has yet 
received. "I am come," says he, " that they might have life, and that 
they may have it more abundantly." Come daily, hourly ; come every 
moment. Come especially in danger, affliction, and death. Nothing 
is required but that you come to Him in whom all fulness dwells. Re- 
member who has affectingly said, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in 
no wise cast out." 



Sermon XC. — The Parable of the Wise and foolish Virgins. 



" Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their 
lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and 
five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with, 
them : but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bride- 
groom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry 
made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh ; go ye out to meet him. Then all those 
virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the, wise, Give 
us of your oil ; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not 
so ; lest there be not enough for us and you : but go ye rather to them that sell, 
and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came ; 
and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage : and the door was 
shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 
But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch there- 
fore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh," 
Matthew xxv, 1-13. 

There were two very different reasons which induced Jesus Christ 
to speak in parables : one, that his hearers might not understand ; the 
other, that they might understand the more readily. Accordingly, we 
find two general classes of parables recorded in the Gospels : first, 
those which were spoken to many, but explained only to a few ; such 
as our Lord addressed to curious hearers ; to persons who indeed asked 
him questions, but who did not earnestly and sincerely desire to come 
to the knowledge of the truth. The mystical discourses delivered to 
these he refuses to explain to them, reserving the explanation for his 
disciples alone. Whether this was intended as a punishment for those 
who pretended to inquire after the truth, but who desired not to come 
to the knowledge of it ; that thus " hearing, they might hear, and not 
understand ; seeing, they might see, and not perceive ;" we cannot say, 
although it would appear as if this were the case. But other parables 
were founded on circumstances and customs with which the Jews 
were well acquainted; on matters familiar to common observation; 
and which were calculated to convey more clearly than any other mode 
of teaching, especially to persons who wished to be instructed, the 
mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. The parable read as the text 
belongs to this class. It has a reference to a well known and very 
solemn custom of the Jews. The Jewish feasts were mostly held in 
the night ; and as marriage feasts were generally distinguished above 
the rest, our Lord often refers to them in the course of his public 

2 



224 PARABLE OF THE VIRGINS. [SERMON XC. 

teaching. The whole of the parable before us is founded on the cus- 
toms connected with these marriage feasts. It was usual for the bride 
to be conveyed to the bridegroom's house at night, the bridegroom 
himself accompanying the procession. It was customary, likewise, 
for him to place some females to wait to receive the bride. On this 
circumstance the parable is founded. Look at the close of the former 
chapter. Christ there speaks of the rewards he will bestow on his 
faithful servants at his second coming, and of the punishment he will 
inflict on the unfaithful. " Blessed is that servant," he says, " whom 
his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing," employed in the work 
appointed him. " Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler 
over all his goods. But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My 
lord delayeth his coming ; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, 
and to eat and drink with the drunken ; the lord of that servant shall 
come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is 
not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and shall appoint him his 
portion with the hypocrites." "Then," says the parable, at that time, 
" shall the kingdom of heaven," the Gospel dispensation, in its final 
results, "then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, 
which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom." 

In order to conduct you to the great moral of this parable, — the mo- 
ral which the great Teacher himself impresses on us with so much 
emphasis, — it will be necessary for me to call your attention to a few 
observations. 

I. In the first place there was a common likeness and resemblance 
between the wise and foolish virgins ; a resemblance that continued 
for a considerable time ; so that the real differences were not detected 
till the approach of the bridegroom. 

All were equally the professed friends of the bridegroom ; all were 
dressed in the garments usually worn at such festivals ; all had taken 
their lamps and kindled them ; all had occupied the place assigned to 
them ; and all, while the bridegroom tarried, and they waited for his 
coming, slumbered and slept. You will observe, that whatever real 
differences there were between them, there were no obvious marks of 
distinction. Though five were wise, and five foolish, they were not 
distinguished till the coming of the bridegroom ; they were not even 
suspected. What, then, are we to understand by this ? We have here 
a representation of the professing Church, among whose members 
there is a common character and resemblance, as among men, though 
a hidden and radical difference, as before God. Look at the ten vir- 
gins. All seem alike ; nor was the difference made apparent till the 
bridegroom came. Look, then, at the visible Church. Are not all its 
members professedly the friends of Christ ? Have they not all been 
baptized in the same name ? Do they not all exhibit the same general 
deportment 1 They all call Jesus, Lord. They observe his Sabbaths, 
they assemble at his ordinances, they meet together in his name, they 
profess to wait for his coming from heaven. Even in this they all 
agree. There is not a man who receives the Christian faith, who does 
not believe that Christ, the Saviour of men, will come a second time 
to judge the world. When we approach the Lord's table, it is that 
we may show forth the Lord's death till he come. Here, then, is the 
agreement. 
2 



SERMON XC.J PARABLE OF THE VIRGINS. 225 

II. In the second place, we may observe, that there was a most 
important and serious distinction. " Five of them were wise, and five 

were foolish." 

The wisdom of the wise was shown in their making a proper pre- 
paration for the future. The folly of the others was shown by their 
making no such provision. The wise took oil in their vessels with 
their lamps, thus providing for wants which they knew would arise. 
The foolish only took a present supply, careless as to the necessity of 
feeding the flame with fresh oil as that was consumed which they took 
with them. The great difference, then, lies here, that a part took oil 
with them, and a part did not. What did our Lord mean to teach us 
by this circumstance, but that the religion which does not affect the 
heart, — the transient blaze of profession, and partial conformity to 
his laws, which yet leaves the principles of the mind unchanged and 
unaffected, — will avail us nothing. There is a religion that may be 
professed without being felt. "Why call ye me Lord, Lord," said 
Christ, " and do not the things which I say ?" The truth may be re- 
ceived into the understanding, and yet not influence the heart. How 
many are there who have the knowledge that puffeth up, and have 
not the charity which edifieth ! "If," says the apostle, " we have all 
knowledge, so as to understand all mysteries, and have not charity, it 
profiteth us nothing." A declaration this, which supposes that a man 
may be even greatly learned in the mysteries of religion, and yet pos- 
sess an unsanctified nature. There have, been persons who have even 
held offices in the Church, whose hearts have not been right with God. 
" Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophe- 
sied in thy name ; and in thy name have cast out devils ; and in thy 
name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto 
them, I never knew you ; depart from me ye that work iniquity." It 
is possible that religious impressions may be made on the mind, and 
on the conscience too, and yet that there shall be no lasting change 
in the heart. " Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee ? O Judah, 
what shall I do unto thee ? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, 
and as the early dew it goeth away." It is possible for us to have a 
great number of virtues and excellencies ; to have them by consti- 
tution ; to acquire them by instruction or example; and yet to have 
an unrenewed heart. We have an instance in the young ruler in the 
Gospel ; a youth of so many excellent and amiable qualifies, that it is 
said that when Jesus looked upon him he loved him. There was 
something so attractive in his general character, as to excite affection 
for him in the great Searcher of hearts ; yet, whe/i he was put to the 
test, and required to leave all and follow his Lora, the principle of self 
and worldly love triumphed over his love of fie truth, and his desire 
far s-alvation. Thus it is evident that we may bear the lamp, and have 
that lamp lighted ; that we may so associate with the people of God, 
as that there shall be no discernible difference between us and them ; 
and yet at the same time the vessel may be destitute of oil. We have 
not the religion of the heart till we have experienced penitential sor- 
row on account of our sins ; till we have felt our need of Christ as the 
Saviour of sinners ; till we have exercised on the atonement the faith 
of the heart, and are thus reconciled to God ; till we are brought under 
the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit ; till love to God becomes 

Vol. II. 15 



226 PARABLE OF THE VIRGINS. [SERMON XC. 

the predominant principle of the soul, and we are changed from the 
image of Satan to the moral image of God. 

III. Let us now notice the delay in the final appearance of the 
bridegroom. " While the bridegroom tarried." 

Before Christ left the world, he warned his disciples of his second 
coming ; but he fixed no time for it. He only left this general injunc- 
tion, " What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch." Sometimes " the 
coming of Christ" refers to his coming to judge the Jews, and to de- 
stroy Jerusalem. In this we find that he tarried beyond the expecta- 
tion of the disciples. Those who were mindful of his injunctions 
watched ; those who were not mindful, but whose love waxed cold, 
were surprised by his coming ; and while every true Christian escaped 
those fearful and desolating calamities, the greatest that had ever be- 
fallen Jerusalem, the unwatchful and unbelieving were involved in the 
mighty ruin. 

But the more general allusion of this phrase is to the coming of our 
Lord to judge the world. He shall sit on the throne of his glory, and 
before him shall be gathered all nations. But, even in this respect, 
the bridegroom has tarried beyond the expectation of the people of 
God in all ages. This is evident, even from some passages in the 
writings of the apostles. Some of the first Christians believed in the 
speedy approach of the day of judgment. That knowledge which the 
Father had reserved to himself, and which was not even committed 
to the Son, was not possessed by the apostles. "Behold," he said, 
" behold I come quickly ;" and they looked for an advent speedy, ac- 
cording to their own conceptions of speed. And the infidel scorners 
took advantage of what appeared to them to be delay : " Where," said 
they, " where is the promise of his coming ?" But many ages rolled 
away, and still the bridegroom tarried. And in the meanwhile they 
all slumbered and slept. The foolish and the wise virgins, the false 
and the sincere professors, have alike fallen into the dust, and they 
sleep the sleep of death. And still does the bridegroom delay his 
coming ; and ages may again roll away before he appears. He is not 
slack concerning his promise, as men count slackness ; but we are 
told that " one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thou- 
sand years as one day." The longest periods can make no alteration 
in his counsels and designs ; nor is the difference of time of any con- 
sequence to Him who fills the vast round of eternity, to whom time 
itself is but a point, a nothing. 

IV- But though he tarried long, at last he came. "At midnight 
there was a cry rmde, Behold, the bridegroom cometh ; go ye out to 
meet him." 

There are two or thi^e circumstances here well worth our attention. 
"At midnight." We aie not-to understand by this, that he will come 
literally at midnight. At whatever time he comes, indeed, it will be 
midnight in some places, but only in some. The term must be taken 
figuratively. He explained it himself, when he said that he should 
come " as a thief in the night." And the meaning is, that as midnight 
is a time of repose, and we are then sunk in forgetfulness, and appre- 
hensive of no danger, so shall it be at the end of the world, except to 
those who are watching for the appearing of their Lord. He will 
come as a thief in the night, when men are slumbering, as to all spi- 
2 



SERMON XC.] 



PARABLE OF THE VIRGINS. 227 



ritual things; immersed in business ; eagerly pursuing pleasure ; plan- 
ning projects which will require long spaces of time for their execution. 
Christ shall suddenly make his appearance, and summon the busy and 
negligent race to appear at his bar. The destruction of sinners will 
come suddenly, because it comes unexpectedly. As when, in the days 
of Noah, they were marrying and giving in marriage, till the flood came 
and destroyed them all, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 
Though then men despised the warning, yet the gathered cloud, and 
the darkened heavens, and the shaking earth, declared the word of the 
Lord to be firm as the foundation of the everlasting hills. So at length 
shall judgment burst from heaven ; the slighted and forgotten Saviour 
shali come ; and before him, as Judge, shall all nations be gathered. 

His coming shall be accompanied with a cry. " At midnight there 
was a cry made." All the representations of the coming of Christ de- 
scribe him as coming in pomp and majesty. It might suit his purpose, 
when he came to redeem the world, to steal into it without honour, to 
come and shrink from human observation, to be trained up in poverty 
and humility, for the fulfilment of the purposes for which his Father 
sent him. Such circumstances might suit the character of his first 
coming ; but when he comes the second time, recollect that he comes 
to judge the world. He comes to accomplish the purposes of his 
mercy in the public acknowledgment of his people, and of his justice 
in the public punishment of the wicked. And therefore shall he come 
with the sound of an archangel, and with the trump of God. With 
him come his holy angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, 
leaving heaven for a time in solitude, that its inhabitants may witness 
the final results of his mediatorial plan, and be present at that most 
important act by which he shall give up the kingdom to God, even the 
Father. Then shall the solemn cry awaken a slumbering world, and 
"all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." A cry of 
despair, too, from the surprised wicked shall mingle with the general 
confusion, and increase the awful terrors of that day. 

Mark, too, the purport of this cry : " Go ye out to meet him." — 
What a sound of joy shall that be to the Church of God ! of joy, not to 
be overpowered by all the terrors of the solemnity ! Is there a saint 
whom the Saviour's coming shall find alive upon the earth, or whose 
spirit shall be brought from heaven to receive his body from the grave, 
\^ho shall not then be inspired with the most exulting joy, and animated 
expectation, by the cry, " Go ye out to meet him ?" Often has the 
saint gone out to meet his Lord on earth. Often has his heart beaten 
with the expectation of meeting him at his table, of finding him at his 
ordinances. Unseen by the eye of sense, faith often beholds him, and 
delightfully realizes his presence. But this summons shall not be to 
meet Christ as we may meet him on earth, but personally, and in all 
his glory ; to enter into his brightly manifested presence, 

" And all eternity employ, 
In songs before his throne." 

But how different will be the effect of the cry on those who are not 
prepared to go forth to meet him*! Let us never forget that this is a 
cry which we all must hear ; a summons which we must all obey. 
Every one of us must go forth to meet him. Whatever reluctance we 

2 



228 PARABLE OF THE VIRGINS. [SERMON XC. 

may feel, even though we should oppose, that opposition shall be over- 
come ; for God shall send his angels, both to gather his elect from the 
four quarters of the earth, and to bring the unhappy culprits in custody 
before the throne of their Judge. You who have persecuted the truth, 
must lift up your hands there, stained with the blood of the saints. 
You who have opposed the spread of his religion, must account for 
your conduct before Him who is concerned above all things that his 
truth should be triumphantly diffused through the world. You who 
have neglected his great salvation, and trampled under foot the blood 
of the covenant, must appear before him who was pierced and slain 
for you. You who have had the form of godliness, but denied the 
power ; you who have trifled with his word, and spurned his offered 
mercy ; whatever shades may diversify your characters, you must all 
awake from your sleep, and go forth to meet him. 

V We may now notice the case of the wise and foolish virgins 
when the bridegroom came. " They rose and trimmed their lamps ;" 
that is, they attempted to trim them. 

The wise would do this without any difficulty ; they had only to 
supply the lamp with oil from the vessels they had taken with them, 
and the light would shine with increasing lustre. The foolish could 
not do this. Their lamps were gone out ; and they had not the means 
of rekindling the blaze. Here is a subject which, if our hearts are 
capable of feeling, is calculated to excite us to seek at once for that 
inward religion which is the only preparation for eternity. Let us 
dwell upon it for a few moments. The wise found no difficulty in 
trimming their lamps ; so the righteous will find no difficulty in reas- 
suming the character they bore on earth. Their religion was not one 
of outward appearance only. It consisted not in bodily services which 
perish with the body, but was laid up in the vessel of the spirit, and 
carried by that spirit into a separate state of existence. Faith, and 
love, and hope, and purity, were all existing in the spirit after death ; 
and they are all there when it is brought by Jesus Christ to join its 
former partner, and clothe itself with an immortal body. All those 
inward principles which ever shone in their eyes, and lips, and actions, 
while in the body, now shine forth in the full lustre that belongs to 
them. The lamp is trimmed, and burns more brightly than ever. But 
mark the case of the foolish. They cannot light their lamps. This 
teaches us that it will then be impossible there to resume the fornyr 
profession, and to appear to be what we are not. The negligent pro- 
fessor whose vessel was destitute of oil, is now under the all-searching 
eye of the Judge. When the body is resumed, when the spirit again 
inhabits its former tabernacle, every inward principle shall then be 
apparent. Delusion shall no longer be possible. The lip, the eyes, 
the actions shall express the truth, and only the truth. Every one 
will then discover, as through a transparent veil, the former hidden 
unbelief, the darkness and corruption once concealed by their profes- 
sion of attachment to the bridegroom. No man shall then be able to 
call Jesus Lord, but under the influence of genuine love to him. The 
lamp is gone out, and cannot be relighted. The present profession of 
piety, the appearance of virtue, may serve you well enough while you 
have only to do with your fellow creatures ; but when you hear the 
midnight cry, " Go ye out to meet him," the mask shall drop off, and 
2 



SERMON XC] PAKABLE OF THE VIHGIHS. 229 

every man be seen in his own proper character. Recollect that if you 
are not Christians now, there will be no becoming Christians then. — 
Christ, as Saviour, will address you no more ; will receive no more 
addresses from you. He will then have ceased to be the way to the 
mercy seat. This is a sad case, and you see it attended by circum- 
stances which show that it is not to be remedied. " Give us of your 
oil," exclaim the foolish, in the confusion of their despair : " Not so," 
reply the wise. They have none to spare. Virtue cannot be trans- 
ferred from one to another on earth, much less in that day. The wise 
will find that they have no more love, no more holiness, than they need 
for themselves. They add, " Go to them that sell, and buy for your- 
selves." The words are added to fili up and ornament the passage. 
They convey, however, a general, but very solemn truth, that it shall 
then be impossible to procure a supply of grace. Whatever freedom 
of access to the throne of grace we may now possess ; however atten- 
tive the ear of the Saviour may be to the cry of them who seek to him 
on earth ; yet in that moment the supplies will be cut off, never more 
to be recovered. If you consider the means by which this oil could 
have been obtained on earth, you will see that they now exist no more. 
Grace is now to be received from the influences of the Spirit, whom 
Christ, as Intercessor, sends into the world ; but when he appears to 
judgment, that intercession will cease, and the supply of the Spirit be 
withdrawn. We now obtain directions from the word in what man- 
ner to apply for mercy and grace ; but the word of promise shall then 
be addressed to us no longer. It shall be laid before the throne of God 
among the books to be opened for the judgment. The book of the 
Gospel shall then become a book of law ; for according to the Gospel 
shall God judge the secrets of men's hearts. Promises shall serve no 
other purpose than to convince men of their negligence and sin. On 
earth we derive aid from the services of Christ's ministers ; but these 
shall in that hour stand among the rest, and be judged themselves. 
Their mission is at an end, and they are no longer sent to persuade 
men. Now, it is here you may obtain mercy and grace by applying 
to God through a Mediator. He stands as a Priest by the altar, to 
offer up our prayers on his own golden censer. But then, instead of 
standing before the throne as an Advocate, he shall be seated upon it 
as our Judge. He will have assumed the robe of judicial authority, 
and have taken into his hand the rod of iron. In that solemn hour 
all the methods of supply shall cease, and it shall be irrevocably pro- 
nounced, « He that is holy, let him be holy still ; he that is filthy, let 
him be filthy still." 

Lastly. Let us observe the final result : " They that were ready 
went in with him to the marriage ; and the door was shut." 

They that were ready at that time, — the wise, whose lamps were 
trimmed and burning ; they who had been saved by grace through 
faith, and were made meet for all the felicities of heaven ; they who 
were within the comprehension of the Divine covenant, and the pur- 
port of the Divine promise. They who were found ready entered in, 
and the door was shut ; shut upon them when they had entered in. O 
delightful circumstance ! That door shall not be again opened ; they 
who enter into the presence of God, and the joys of the marriage feast, 
shall never depart ; they have entered into the blessedness of heaven ; 

2 



230 PARABLE OF THE VIRGINS. [SERIIOX XC. 

they are associated with angels ; they are in the temple where God h 
served day and night, and they shall never leave it ; the door is shut. 
That same act, however, which shut the wise virgins in, shut the fool- 
ish virgins out. When they come and make their vain prayers for 
the mercy they had once rejected, the answer is, " I know yon not ; 
depart, ye cursed." Such shall be the case with all who are not found 
ready. They shall be shut out ; shut out from God, from the joy of 
his presence, the light of his countenance ; shut out from the society 
of the wise and good ; shut out from the place where sorrow and sigh- 
ing shall be eternally done away ; shut into that place of darkness and 
despair where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. 

These observations are intended to lead you to the great moral, 
"Watch, therefore." 

On this I shall make a few remarks, and then conclude. 

There is a sense in which death is all that judgment can be ; par- 
ticularly in this, that it fixes our eternal condition. To each of us it 
may be said, that the hour of death is, in effect, the midnight hour 
when Christ shall come to judge us ; and as that hour is most uncer- 
tain, we are therefore enjoined to watch, lest it take us by surprise, and 
find us unprepared. What is your life but a vapour? Every moment, 
for any thing we know, we are standing on the verge of an unaltera- 
ble state. Is it possible for any man to sleep in these circumstances? 
to neglect to prepare to meet his God and Judge ? Is it possible that 
he can reject offers of mercy and pardon, and slight a Saviour's grace 
and love ? that he can busy himself with the various events of time, 
and forget the weighty and solemn realities of eternity ? To rouse 113 
from this terrible carelessness Christ uttered this parable ; and, by the 
ministers of his word, its solemn truths are still addressed and enforced. 
Awake, then, awake to righteousness, and sin not. Lay these things 
seriously to heart. Ask yourselves whether you are prepared for the 
coming of Jesus. Be not satisfied with being connected with the 
friends of the bridegroom ; with having the lamp of profession, hut 
your hearts without grace. Awake both from carnal and spiritual 
delusion, and while you may obtain the holy oil, apply for it. 

And then keep awake; "Watch." Have always an attentive re- 
gard to the things of God. Remember that you are hastening to 
eternity. You are pleasing or displeasing to God, not according to 
your profession, but according to your actual state and conduct in his 
sight. Remember that your present actions are the seed which you 
are sowing, and that the harvest shall be reaped in eternity. Watch, 
therefore ; keep ever before you the uncertainty of your life ; at an 
hour when you think not, the Son of man will come ; keep your lamps 
trimmed, and a plenteous supply of oil in your vessels ; abide in the 
spirit of holy expectation ; still be waiting for the bridegroom ; be ever 
in the spirit of prayer and praise, of faith and obedience ; let your 
whole life be one continued sacrifice to the service of your Master: 
" Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so 
doing." And at his second coming to judge the world in righteousness, 
all they that are thus ready shall go in with him to the marriage ; and 
in his presence shall they have fulness of joy, and pleasures for ever- 
more. 
2 



231 



SEKMON XCI.] THE FINAL HOUR OP CHRIST. 

Sermon XCI.— The Final Hour of the Son of God. 



" These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, 
the hour is come," John xvii, 1. 

The character of Jesus may well be compared to the " light which 
shineth more and more unto the perfect day :" it was always glorious ; 
but, as he approaches the close of his life, it acquires a brighter lustre, 
a deeper tenderness, and a mightier strength ; like a man near the end 
of his race, and almost within reach of the goal, he seems to hasten 
forth with redoubled vigour, and to be " straitened till it be accom- 
plished." His thoughts appear concentrated in the successful termina- 
tion of his important work, and every power of active energy, or of 
passive submission, is called into full exercise. Knowing that his 
time was at hand, he calls his disciples about him, and, in language 
of inimitable tenderness, gives them his last instructions, copiforts 
them with promises, and prepares them for the trial which they, as 
well as he, had to undergo. This office of love to them being done, 
he prepares for the last solemn scene of his life, — his painful suffer- 
ing and bitter agony, — and, to teach us where to fly in trouble, ad- 
dresses himself in earnest prayer to the Father : " These words spake 
Jesus, and lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, the hour is come. 
Glorify thy Son, that thy Son may also glorify thee." 

On this critical moment, the moment upon which salvation seems 
to be tremblingly suspended, and the issue of which absorbed all the 
attention of attendant angels, we would fix your thoughts. If the angel 
on the morning of the resurrection said to the disciples, " Come, see 
the place where the Lord lay," we would say, " Come, see the place 
where your Lord died ;" come and contemplate the occurrences of an 
hour the most signal in the annals both of time and eternity ; an hour 
marked with strange events, accomplished by strange means, distin- 
guished by the union of wide extremes, in which heaven, earth, and 
hell took their respective parts, and from which will be drawn our 
highest comforts, or our deepest woes, through eternity. 

We have said that this hour was marked by the union of wide 
extremes, by strange contrasts, and wondrous results : this will appear 
if we consider it, 

I. As the hour of the deepest humiliation, and yet of transcendant 
glory. 

The Son of God was humbled by taking our nature upon him, by 
living in obscurity, and by the poverty and reproaches which he 
endured ; but all these were nothing compared with the humiliations of 
this hour. He was prostrate in the garden, arrested by a rude mob, 
arraigned as a criminal, buffeted, crowned with thorns, spit upon, 
scourged, hung upon a cross. How deep a humiliation crucifixion 
would appear to a Jew, will appear from this circumstance,— their 
own law had decided, « Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." 
How deep a humiliation it was in the estimation of a Roman may be 
learned from the fact, that Cicero, in his oration against Verres, urges 
it as one of the most solemn charges against that governor, that 
unawed by the majesty of the Roman commonwealth, he had nailed a 

2 



232 THE FINAL HOUR OF CUEIST. [SERMON XCI. 

Roman citizen to the cross. Yet thus was Christ humbled in the 
presence of both Jews and Romans. " He humbled himself, and was' 
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." 

Yet, though in this hour we see his humiliation completed, it was 
nevertheless to him an hour of his glory. Sense saw nothing but 
clouds, the darkest clouds of shame, gathering around him : faith be- 
holds those clouds gilded with heavenly splendour, and his glory rising 
with his deepening humiliation. 

The highest virtues were displayed in that hour : fortitude, un- 
shrinking fortitude. He felt more than man ever felt ; yet he drank 
the cup. Meekness : " He was led as a lamb to the slaughter : and 
as a sheep is dumb before the shearer, so he opened not his mouth." 
Submission : With legions of angels at his command, he submitted thus 
to suffer and die, in compliance with his Father's will. Forgiveness : 
For his murderers he prayed, saying, " Father, forgive them ; for they 
know not what they do." Filial tenderness : Looking upon the beloved 
discipje, he said, in reference to his mother, "Behold thy mother." 
St. John knew his Lord's meaning ; and from that time took her to his 
own home. Above all, love ; We read of love stronger than death ; 
it was here displayed : love to souls stronger than the feeling of self 
preservation ; stronger than his sense of pain and of shame ; stronger 
than death, even the death of the cross. 

Nor were these the only glories which illuminated the dark humilia- 
tion of that hour : he was glorified by God. As there were miracles at 
his birth, at his baptism, in hi3 ministry, so there were miracles in his 
death. As on mount Tabor he received glory and honour, so on mount 
Calvary. Why the darkness ? The heavens were clothed in mourning 
for him. Why the earthquake? That even the centurion might con- 
fess, " Surely this man was the Son of God." Why the veil of the 
temple rent ? To show that he was opening the new and living way 
to God. Why do the dead burst their graves? To show that life 
springs from his death ; life to the soul, life to the world, life to the 
body. O signal hour, never to be forgotten ! May it ever be inscribed 
upon our hearts, and may we know what it is to be crucified with 
Christ ; to be weak and to be strong, to die and to live with him. By 
his cross we die unto the world, and by the Divine power which he 
displayed, even in his weakness, we may "live unto God." 

The hour we are contemplating was marked, 

II. With the greatest of human crimes, and the most affecting dis- 
plays of the Divine mercy. 

Jesus made his appearance in a wicked age ; among other reasons, 
perhaps, for this, — to show that his mercy stoops to the most wicked 
of men, and that the worst may find mercy. The whole history of 
Christ, indeed, is a history of the obduracy and depravity of the Jews ; 
but in the hour we are contemplating, every evil that characterized 
them appears under its greatest aggravations. Is hatred of goodness 
a crime ? Why was Christ hated, but for the reproving purity of his 
life? His life, his words were standing rebukes to their hypocrisy; 
and instead of being corrected by reproof, they gnashed their teeth in 
hatred of the reprover. Is resistance to the authority of Heaven a 
crime ? All the day long he stretched out his hands to them, and they 
rejected the Divinely-authenticated message, and murdered the Mes- 
2 



SERMON XCI.] THE FINAL HOITR OF CHRIST. 233 

sender. Is opposition to the evidence of truth a crime? Not even 
the miracles of Christ convinced them : they blindly resolved on unbe- 
lief- their hearts were not even touched with the darkened heavens 
and'the trembling earth ; nay, not even the glorious and well-established 
fact of his resurrection convinced them. Is ingratitude a crime ! Here 
behold it in its blackest robe. What return did he deserve who healed 
their sick and cured their blind ? He who gave joy to afflicted families ? 
He who went about doing good ; who spent his days in labour, and 
his nights in prayer ? Was a crown of thorns, a cross, a fit return ? 
Are injustice and cruelty crimes? Then were they guilty: they 
arrested by their menaces the fair course of impartial justice ; and 
when Pilate would have acquitted him, they forced the reluctant judge 
to condemn. He was denied even the pity which misery seldom fails 
to inspire ; they aggravated his sufferings, and insulted him in the 
agonies of death. 

Great God ! why were these crimes suffered, but for the display of 
thv own grace, and to encourage sinful men to hope in thee to the end 
oftime ? That hour, so signalized by the crimes of man, was not less 
distinguished by the mercy of God. The heavens were astonished ; 
but " the stars in their courses" did not, as of old, " fight against" the 
perpetrators of the horrid tragedy. The earth quaked ; but it did not 
swallow them up, as it did Korah and his company. They were spared, 
and spared to be the subjects of a grace rich and infinite as its Author. 
The sufferer whom they hurried to Cavalry was then bearing the punish- 
ment of their sins in his own sacred body. He whom they stretched 
upon the cross was the atoning Lamb then laid upon that rude altar. 
The blood which they drew off by slow and cruel torments was then 
flowing to wash away the guilt even of their sins ; and to sprinkle the 
mercy seat, to give their prayers acceptance. Yes, so it was. A 
fountain was opened in that moment for sin and uncleanness ; opened 
for them, and for all ; and after his resurrection they were invited to it. 
The Lord directed that repentance and remission of sins should be 
preached in all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. As if he had said, 
" Let the first offer be made to them. Tell them I forgive their injustice 
and cruel wrongs. I forget the purple robe ; the mock sceptre ; the 
crown of thorns ; all their insults, and all their ingratitude ; and that I 
am ' exalted a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance and remission 
of sins unto Israel.' Bid them look unto me, whom they have pierced ; 
and assure them that they shall not look in vain." What a display of 
mercy was here ! and mercy, too, that reaches to us. Our sins had 
their share in effecting these sufferings. It was our load that pressed 
the blameless victim. But for that, all the external sufferings inflicted 
by the Jews would have been light. We are all among the murderers 
of Jesus. Yet the blood flowed for us. 

In this singular hour of which the text speaks, we behold, 
III. Wicked men and the ever-blessed God accomplishing opposite 
and contrary purposes. 

The intention of the Jews was sufficiently obvious. It was to destroy 
Christ and his religion together. " If we put him to death," ' they 
reasoned, " we prove that he is not the Messias ; and the people can- 
not then believe in him. With him, his doctrine and his followers will 
perish also." Thus "they took counsel together against the Lord, 

2 



23<t THE FINAL HOUR OF CHRIST. [SERMON XCI. 

and against his Christ." In part they accomplished their purpose, and 
seemed fully to have accomplished it. They did put him to death • 
his disciples forsook him ; and some gave up all hope, and went to 
their own homes. Doubtless, the priests and elders went from the 
cross congratulating themselves on the success of their attempt against 
his life and religion. Ah the blindness of man ! The counsel of the 
Lord only standeth sure. "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." 
Christ, it is true, was put to death by wicked men ; but in this they 
only accomplished " the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of 
God." Paradoxical as it may appear, their success was their failure- 
and the fulfilment of their purpose its frustration. They indeed con- 
ceived that they had disproved his claims to the Messiahship by killing 
him ; but of the truth of these claims his death was one of the strongest 
evidences. It accomplished the prophecies, and fulfilled the types. 
In that hour the typical history of Isaac was realized : the Father 
offered his Son, his only Son. The prospective application of the 
passover was then seen. The sprinkling of a nobler blood than that 
which was shed in Egypt arrested the stroke of the destroying angel 
of justice. He was the true scape-goat, who bore the transfer of our 
sins. All that was taught by the sin-offerings of the law was then 
explained; for "he who knew no sin was then made a sin-offering for 
us." Nor was his death only the fulfilment of types. It also fulfilled 
prophecies. It proved him to be the Messias of Isaiah, who "was 
despised and rejected of men ; who was wounded for our transgres- 
sions, and bruised for our iniquities ;" who " was taken from prison 
and from judgment;" whom it pleased the Father to "bruise;" and 
who made his grave with the wicked and the rich. It proved him to 
be the Messias of David, who should cry, " My God, my God, why 
hast thou forsaken me ?" — the Messias of Daniel, of whom it was said, 
that he should be " cut off, but not for himself," that he might " make 
reconciliation for iniquity ;" — the Messias of Zechariah, who was to be 
the "Fellow of Jehovah," against whom his "sword" should "awake." 
Thus was the hour of their triumph the hour of their confusion. 

They expected, too, to maintain the honour of their law, against him 
who, as they conceived, proposed to destroy it ; but by the very means 
of his death that law was abrogated. Till that moment the institutions 
of Moses had an efficacy ; but then they became a dead letter. They 
had answered their purpose ; they had served to " bring in a better 
hope ;" and when that was come, in the moment that Christ said, "It 
is finished," the shadowy dispensation passed away for ever, like the 
clouds of the morning. 

They hoped to destroy both Christ and his religion together. Vain 
hope ! Had he not died, he could not have risen again. They knew 
not that his atoning death was the rock on which he Would build his 
Church ; and that the preaching of the cross would shake down both 
the temporary system of Moses, and the false religions of the whole 
earth. Thus God made the wrath of man to praise him ; and thus, in 
this mysterious hour, did he accomplish his purposes of grace by their 
purposes of malice and wickedness. 

The hour of which Jesus spoke, when he lifted up his eyes, and 
said, " Father, the hour is come," was, 

IV The hour of the triumph and overthrow of hell. 
2 



SERMON XCI.] THE FINAI HOUR OF CHRIST. 235 

On the entrance of Christ upon his ministry he was led by the Spirit 
into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. On that occasion the 
tempter was foiled ; but the evangelist adds, " He departed from him 
for a season." And it was but for a season. He retreated but to rally 
his forces, to mature his plans, and to commence the attack with a 
force equal to the mighty Antagonist he hoped to overthrow. Busy as 
he was in opposing and rendering Christ's ministry unsuccessful, he 
seems to have put forth all his strength in the hour we are contem- 
plating. The assault began in the garden. Then was " the hour and 
the power of darkness." Mysterious as the transactions of that hour 
are, we cannot enter into all the particulars of the struggle which pro- 
duced the agony and bloody sweat. A veil is drawn over the solemn 
scene. But it was the " hour and power of darkness ;" and thus we 
learn that the malice of the devil had its share in producing those deep 
sorrows of the soul which required to be counteracted by the ministry 
of an angel, that the fainting victim might have strength for his re- 
maining sufferings. See the same agency in the treachery of a dis- 
ciple. The same foul spirit entered into Judas, and Christ was wound- 
ed in the house of his friends. The ferocity of the Jewish rabble, and 
the malice of the elders, bear indications plain enough of the infernal 
influence under which they acted. In this struggle the victor seemed 
to be vanquished. Man thought him conquered ; and hell thought him 
conquered. They both, therefore triumphed ; and with apparent rea- 
son. He who professed to be the Son of God hung a pallid corse upon 
the tree. The tyrant Death triumphed over him who declared himself 
to be "the resurrection and the life." Never had he directed his dart 
against so noble a victim. Triumphantly he surrendered him to the 
grave whose dominion he had disturbed, and whose right he had in- 
vaded, by the resurrection of Lazarus. Now the grave had its victory, 
and folded him under its dark dominion. Nor were these the only 
triumphs of Satan. He triumphed over the Church. The disciples 
were dispersed, and hope was gone. The Shepherd was smitten, and 
the sheep were scattered. " Where now," it might be said, " is the 
promise, ' Upon this rock I will build my Church ; and the gates of 
hell shall not prevail against it V " 

But this very hour of triumph was hell's overthrow. Christ foresaw 
this. Approaching this hour, he rejoiced in spirit, and said, " Now is 
the judgment of this world ; now shall the prince of this world be cast 
out." In that hour these words were accomplished : " He gave his 
life a ransom for many." He gave it ; it was not taken away. Here 
was the mistake of both men and devils. He gave his life a ransom ; 
he paid a price to justice, that he might obtain power to rescue men 
out of the snare of the devil. He was hung upon the cross ; but it was 
" as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness ; that whosoever 
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "And 
I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me." Yes ; 
the arm which was extended on the cross was extended there, that it 
might shake down the kingdom of Satan. The head that bowed as he 
gave up the ghost, was bowed that it might wear crowns of victory, 
won from the destroyer. He suffered the stroke of death, only to rob 
the monster of his sting ; and he sunk into the grave only to seize the 
key of its power, to open the gloomy realms, and call forth the prisoners 

2 



236 THE FINAL HOUR OF CHRIST. [SERMON XCI. 

to everlasting life. And the triumph over the Church was but tem- 
porary. The disciples were scattered only to be gathered again ; 
discouraged, only to be emboldened ; driven back, only to be rallied 
at the sign of their victorious Lord rising from the grave. See them 
marshalled in holy combat against the kingdom of Satan, and made 
his witnesses to the ends of the earth. Hail, glorious Conqueror ! 
may Satan every day feel the power thou didst thus acquire, in this 
hour of weakness and suffering, in the overthrow of his kingdom in 
all the world ! 

V. This hour stands distinguished from every other, as a point of 
time standing between the eternity of the past and the future, and re- 
lated to each in a manner which marks no other from the beginning 
to the end of the world. 

From eternity it was regarded by God. His plans of creation, pro- 
vidence, and grace were all arranged with respect to it. From before 
the foundation of the world it was appointed in the Divine mind. 
Angels looked forward to it with the deepest interest. The law was 
given by the disposition of angels, and types were set up, all with 
reference to it. When time began, they watched the preparations for 
the full developement of the scheme of redemption. To it the pa- 
triarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with Job, and other holy men of 
old, looked with intense feeling. The prophets inquired diligently 
into the import of their own predictions, " searching what and what 
manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, 
when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that 
should follow." The saints who died before the coining of Christ 
looked forward to his death. The events of that hour confirmed their 
title to endless bliss. They were all saved only in anticipation of his 
sacrifice. Through time, and the eternity which follows, there will 
be a constant looking back upon this hour. The Saviour looks back 
upon his sorrows. He remembers what it cost him to redeem ; and 
he will not therefore hastily destroy. He is unwilling to lose the dear 
purchase of his blood. Penitents look back to that hour, and hope for 
pardon, holiness, and eternal life. Saints look back upon it ; and it 
fires their love, and kindles their joys. In heaven the glorified spirits 
of believers will for ever look back upon it, and exclaim, " Worthy is 
the Lamb that was slain, to receive glory, and riches, and honour, and 
blessing." 

This eventful hour must surely be fruitful of practical instruction. 
It suggests, 

1. The infinite evil of sin. 

What mind of man or angel can fully estimate its malignity, when 
it could only be expiated by the indescribable sufferings and the death 
of the incarnate Son of God ] 

2. Motives of the strongest hope. 

" He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, 
how shall he not with him also freely give us all things V We can- 
not expect too much from the God of all grace, if we only labour, in 
the way of his own appointment, to secure the blessings for which we 
hope and pray. 

3. Motives of love and obedience. 

How can we sufficiently love Him who has shown all this love to us ? 
2 



SEEMON XCII.] THE UNSPEAKABLE GIFT. 237 

How entire ought to be our obedience! how strenuous our efforts to 
promote Z glo § ry, by the spread of his truth, and the assertion and 
maintenance of his rights ! 

4. Motives of holy fear. 

"Where much is given, much is also required. The guilt ot 
trampling upon the blood of the Son of God is guilt of no ordinary 
magnitude; and that fearful guilt is incurred by all who live and die 
in The neglect of the salvation of which he is the author. 



Sermon XCII. — The Unspeakable Gift. 

" Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift," 2 Cor. ix, 15. 

The occasion on which these words were uttered is interesting, as 
exhibiting the generous and compassionate character of the Gospel, 
and its benevolent influence on the hearts of men. The saints in 
Judea had fallen into great poverty and distress. St. Paul pleaded 
their cause in various Gentile Churches, and urged collections for 
them : nor had he been unsuccessful ; they had come forward cheer- 
fully and liberally ; and he urges their example on the Corinthians, 
not doubting but that among them also there would be an equal mani- 
festation of the kind and charitable feelings which Christianity inspires. 
This, perhaps, was the very first collection on so large a scale ever 
made in the world ; made among Gentiles, too, and for Jews, whom 
they both despised and hated. It presented a fine picture of that ten- 
derness and enlargement of heart which could only be inspired by a 
religion of Divine charity ; that sympathy which binds to each other 
men the most distant as children of the same Parent, and subjects of 
the same redeeming grace. No wonder the apostle rose into transport 
when he contemplated this, and so many other happy effects diffused 
by the Gospel throughout society, so far as it was allowed to spread 
its influence. In his usual rapid course of thought he traces the 
blessings up to their first source, — the gift of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
and devoutly exclaims, " Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable 
gift." The doctrine then is, that by the gift of Christ, blessings, 
unspeakable blessings, more than can be related or declared, have 
been bestowed upon mankind. This doctrine I propose, 

I. To illustrate. 

II. To improve. 

I. I have to illustrate this interesting doctrine. 

It would be easy to present you with a large enumeration of the 
blessings which have flowed down to us, which have been put within 
our reach, or have come actually into our possession by the gift of 
Christ ; and, tracing all of them into their effects and consequences 
both in time and eternity, to call you to acknowledge how truly the 
gift in which they all originated may be described as unspeakable. 
But this would present too.wide a scope ; and I shall therefore content 
myself with selecting a fewunstances which may serve to impress the 
mind with the importance of the subject. 

2 



238 THE UNSPEAKABLE GIFT. [SERMON XC II. 

1. By the gift of Christ we receive the gift of religious truth. 
In religion man is deeply interested : error on this subject affects 
both his present peace and his future salvation ; to this, therefore, the 
minds of men have been turned in all ages, but, as facts demonstrate, 
with endless fluctuations. The great variety of opinions which pre- 
vailed proves the interest they took in the subject ; and the differences 
which existed among them proved their want of light and direction. 
We, indeed, differ now ; but, if we are honest, our differences only 
relate to circumstantials : they differed on points that were essential. 
Nor was it possible for a man to lay even the foundations of love and 
hope ; there was no agreement either as to morals, or the method of 
forgiveness, or a future state. But what man could not reach, Divine 
mercy has supplied : forth from the cloud of the Divine presence come 
the tables of stone, in which all the principles of love and duty are 
inscribed by the finger of God himself. The Son of God appears 
incarnate, brightens that awful letter into its still more expressive and 
searching spirit, then shows the authorized atonement in his own suf- 
ferings and death ; displays the abounding grace of God in his pro- 
mises, and, as to the future, rises from the dead in his might, throws 
back the veil which had hid the glories and terrors of another world, 
and pours upon the present time the clear light of eternity. If you 
would conceive more fully the value of this blessing, think of the 
anxieties as to the truth from which the mighty demonstrations of the 
Gospel save us ; think of the impressive fact, that every one of us 
knows that we may obtain pardon and peace, and that a light shines 
upon our path, which if it be not our own fault, shall dissipate the 
gloom of death, and lead us up to the very gate of eternal life. Think 
on this, and say whether the gift from whose blessed inspiration and 
teaching all this revelation emanates, be not indeed unspeakable 1 

2. By the gift of Christ, and as an immediate consequence of reli- 
gious doctrine, we receive the gift of conscience. 

If any of you think this a topic too minute and subordinate to be 
placed in this enumeration, bear with me while I endeavour to show 
you its unspeakable value. It is in conscience that religion is placed 
as its first principle and basis ; it has respect to a Divine rule by 
which our actions and character are determined as right or wrong ; 
and it includes a sense of guilt and fear of the future, or a sweet and 
tranquil assurance of the Divine favour : it is thus an evil or a good 
conscience. But for conscience, there would be no check to vice ; 
but for conscience, there would be no pleasure in virtue ; but for the 
uneasiness and alarms created by its inward reproofs, no one would 
ever turn to God ; but for its sweet and powerful motives, there would 
be no cheerfulness in obedience. But we owe all this to the gift of 
Christ. Where there is no truth, there is no conscience ; men seem 
asleep ; in their trespasses and sins they are dead ; and society all 
around becomes corrupt. Such was the state of the pagan world. 
But the awful rule is now revealed : on the one hand the fearful con- 
sequences of offence are shown, and, on the other, the sprinkling ot 
the conscience by the blood of Christ, and the power and value of 
obedience. Dwell now on the consequences till you lose yourselves 
in their extent, and own that gift to be indeed unspeakable which 
save a conscience to man. See them in the private conscience of all 
2 



SERMON XCII.] THE UNSPEAKABLE GIFT. 239 

enlightened individuals. The distinctions between right and wrong 
are kept broad and visible by conscience. It restrains in all ; and 
when awakened fully by the convincing Spirit, it is that which turns 
vou, guilty wanderers, like the prodigal in the parable, with penitence 
to the house of your Father : your sins are forgiven by him, and your 
conscience is at rest. And to preserve this peace Within, to avoid the 
anguish before so severely felt, the rule is delicately and scrupulously 
applied and you only live to please God, and to receive the testimony 
that you are accepted of him. Thoughts, words, and actions all come 
under the rule. It is a Christian conscience which makes a Christian 
man, and adorns his character with the venerableness of rectitude, and 
the softness of charity. _ . 

And this gift to a nation creates a public conscience. 1 his is, 
indeed, very imperfect ; but it grows with the influence of Christianity. 
All that there is of public virtue in Christian nations above heathen 
nations is the result of it. This it is which shall at last purify every 
nation ; it shall«go on wrestling with wrong, tyranny, and oppression, 
the vices of the mind, and the vices of the animal nature, till a whole 
world, hallowed to God, shall proclaim the gift to be unspeakable. 
3. By the gift of Christ we receive the gift of righteousness by faith. 
This has in part been anticipated ; but it claims a more particular 
consideration, in illustration of the subject before us. It is only by 
Christ that we come to know the fact, that the God whom we have 
offended is placable, and that it is in his gracious purpose to forgive : 
where else should we learn it ? If we go to nature, that shows his 
severity as well as his goodness ; if to his moral government, repent- 
ance removes not the consequences of transgression. But here the 
glorious fact comes forth for which prophecy prepared the world, and 
which was confirmed by the most splendid miracles, that God is in 
Christ, reconciling the world unto himself; and if any one now inquires 
of you whether, under the moral government of God, sin may be for- 
given, you may say with John the Baptist, and put all doubt to flight, 
" Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." 
My brethren, can we express, then, the consequences in this particular 
respect, of the gift of Christ ? Can we tell the value of this hope when 
it breaks upon the darkness of a self-condemned and alarmed spirit ? 
Can we sufficiently conceive of the mercy and wisdom of that method 
of pardon which brings men from penances and pilgrimages, painful 
inflictions and tortures, the tormenting tyranny of superstitious men, 
and the hopeless efforts for self-deliverance prescribed by pharisaic 
men ; and reveals this righteousness of faith, making simple trust and 
acceptance the only condition laid upon an humbled and penitent spirit ? 
Can we sufficiently express that grace of our Lord Jesus which, when 
this great change in our condition has taken place, leaves us not in 
doubt of it, but sends the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, to assure our 
consciences of pardon, and to bear witness with our spirits that we are 
the children of God ? And if we cannot in words express, or in thought 
adequately conceive, these blessings, nor the joy of filial confidence, 
the calm and humble assurance with which a pardoned and accepted 
man thinks of God, and goes up to his throne of mercy ; nor the glory 
of that heavenly inheritance to which the justification of man before 
God gives the sure title, indefeasible by any thing save our own 

2 



240 THE UNSPEAKABLE GIFT. [SERMON XCII. 

apostasy ; then how devoutly, and witli what emphasis, may we join 
the apostle and say, " Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift !" 

4. By the gift of Christ a new order of affections were opened in the 
hearts of men. 

I know that good affections were always the result of true religion 
under former dispensations, but they were strengthened by the coming 
of Christ ; and, as to the world at large, it knew them not, and the 
spirit and influence of their religions were altogether opposed to them. 
See this illustrated in the love of God, as excited by his creating good- 
ness and providential care ; his pitying and redeeming mercy ; his 
manifestations of himself under the character of a father, receiving his 
repentant offspring, forgiving their disobedience, and upbraiding them 
not ; the love of man, on the new and enlarged principles of a common 
brotherhood, and a common redemption ; zeal for the happiness of all 
men, excited and fed by views of their spiritual interests, and relations 
to an eternal world ; forgiveness of all injuries, grounded on a sense of 
the greatness of our own sins against God, and the frdeness of his for- 
giving love to ourselves ; sympathy and compassion to all in trouble, 
unbounded by name or country ; that very affection which, created in 
these Gentile Churches, made them on this occasion contribute to the 
relief of the poor saints in Judea ; that which originated the noble 
precept, " Do good unto all men ;" a sympathy fed by the love of that 
Christ whose grace was such, that " though he was rich, yet for our 
sakes he became poor, that we, through his poverty, might be rich :" 
and finally, a charity, which, we may be bold to say, was never con- 
ceived of even by the best and wisest heathen, and which, even had 
they conceived it, they had no means of attaining ; that charity which 
suflereth long and is kind ; which envieth not ; which thinketh no evil ; 
which believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. True 
it is, that you will find many hearts but partially transformed into the 
image of these sweet and beautiful affections, and much in society 
contrary and opposed to them : this only proves, however, the stubborn- 
ness of the matter which our religion has to melt and cast into its own 
mould ; the earthliness of the material which, by its own ethereal fire, 
it has to purify and transform. The value of the gift is not diminished 
by the fault of man. Over myriads of hearts has it shed this sancti- 
fying and softening influence ; and its triumphs in society, though far 
from being complete, are yet eminent and glorious. These are the 
affections which give the poor an interest in the feelings of the rich ; 
which have created the numerous public charities of the day, some of 
which are even charities for the world : these are the charities which 
subdue secret resentments, dispose the heart to friendship, and make 
man kind and forbearing ; which, binding together the domestic chari- 
ties, create for us homes of peace and love ; and from one of them, — 
the love of the brethren, springs that interesting fellowship of the faith- 
ful, the communion of saints, which unites in one the children of God 
that are scattered abroad, and presents the fairest type on earth of the 
society and the harmony of heaven. In this respect, also, the gift is 
unspeakable. 

5. By the gift of Christ we receive the privilege of public worship. 
In all ages has worship been practised ; but the characters of 

Christian worship are peculiar to itself, and it stands in its own majestic 
2 



SERMON XCII.] 

sim 



THE UNSPEAKABLE GIFT. 241 



plicity, the most wonderful and impressive visible instance of the 
grace of God to man. It is not the worship of lords many and gods 
many, but of one God and Father of all, invested with immense majesty, 
and tenderest condescension. It recognizes the special manifestation 
of God in particular places, but gives this an exposition suited to the 
nature of so glorious a Being whose presence is infinite; so that 
wherever he records his name, and his people assemble, there he comes 
that he may bless them. It appeals to no unmeaning principle of blind 
superstition ; but, all light and truth, it makes knowledge the source of 
its devotion ; and, having first opened the volume of revelation, calls 
upon men to pray and sing with the spirit and with the understanding 
also. It annihilates all distinctions in the presence of God, so that 
pride is hidden from man in this perfect equality before the great Ob- 
ject of his worship ; and rich and poor are alike called to rejoice, the 
one because he is brought low, the other because he is exalted. Pride 
is thus forbidden the one, and despair the other. It is the voice of in- 
vitation in public places, calling upon all to remember, and fear, and 
turn to the Lord. To the penitent it presents the mercy set.t, the 
throne of grace, the extended sceptre ; to a devout and transforming 
contemplation it unveils the Divine glories ; and to the troubled spirit 
it offers help and comfort, for " God is known in" the palaces of the 
Church " for a refuge." It connects these outward and less glorious 
scenes with the sublime scenes of heaven itself. Every thing in the 
worship appointed for earth is connected with a wonderful arrange- 
ment : there is the great High Priest in the holiest of all ; there the 
mercy seat sprinkled with the blood of atonement ; and there the 
prayers of saints are presented, with the intercession of Jesus. Our 
praises on earth are thus connected with the far-echoing sounds of 
grateful joy rising from the Church triumphant, and our solemn silence 
with the deeper awe of the prostrate and worshipping seraphim. It 
presents a sweet picture of the better world which is prepared for them 
that love God. What are our Sabbaths but emblems of that rest ? that 
holy Sabbath keeping which remaineth for the people of God after life's 
toilsome work is ended? What our assemblies, but shadows of that 
general assembly, and Church of the first-born, to which Christianity 
calls as ? What our worship, but a faint resemblance of that eternal 
application of the intellect and heart to the ever unfolding mysteries, 
the ever brightening glories, of the Godhead ? 

Now let us view the effects and consequences of worship, and then 
ask whether the gift which bestows them is not indeed unspeakable. 
Consider the impression which is thus made even on society, and the 
fear of God which is thus maintained there ; the powerful call from 
debasing allurements and worldly thoughts to the things which belong 
to our peace ; the souls which are constantly awaking, under the in- 
fluences of these Divine institutions, from the deathly slumbers of sin 
and worldliness, and rising into a new and higher order of feelings and 
principles. Conceive of the pardons which are distributed among the 
humbled publicans who stand smiting on their breasts, but go down to 
their houses justified ; of the holy communings with God enjoyed in 
his sanctuaries ; of the glowing anticipations of heaven there felt. 
See these effects silently working in the peace and order of Christian 
families ; and, among nations where the worship of God is set up, 

Vol. II. 16 



242 THE UNSPEAKABLE GIFT. [SERMON XCII. 

restraining crime, mitigating punishment, and promoting a general 
prosperity. And, above all, consider how, in every place, generation 
after generation are trained up on earth for the blessings of the heaven- 
ly world, and that they pass in succession from these outward courts to 
that most holy place only separated from us by the curtain of a frail 
mortality ; and you will feel that, though all these general thoughts 
may easily be arranged before our minds, yet that we can no more ex- 
press the innumerable benefits which are flowing secretly and silently, 
but constantly and certainly, from the establishment of this hallowed 
worship in our land, than we can trace the silent but mighty influence 
of the spring which penetrates every root, clothes the naked tree with 
budding foliage, turns the barren soil into a garden, and spreads abroad 
infinitely more life and loveliness than the eye can measure or the 
tongue express. 

II. If, then, we have shown you that the gift of Christ is, indeed, 
unspeakable, by only a general glance at the blessings which we derive 
from it, what improvement should we make of the subject thus set be- 
fore us ? 

I would suggest to you three thoughts : one a very solemn one ; the 
second encouraging ; and the third full of hope and joy. 

1. The serious and searching consideration which I would, in the 
first place, suggest, is, that this unspeakable gift, with all its resulting 
blessings, may have been offered to us in vain. 

God deals with man, it is true, in the way of grace, nay, of attraction 
and powerful influence ; but still' he deals with him as a reasonable 
and accountable creature : he makes the offer, but you may refuse it. 
Yes, the love of the world may hold its place in the heart, the indiffer- 
ence of an unawakened spirit may still keep you in the bondage of 
vice, and so you may reject this truth, and walk in darkness, or only 
following some flitting and misleading vapour ; and this conscience, 
so often touched and awakened, may be lulled by the opiates which a 
carnal heart supplies, deceived by promises of future amendment, or 
hardened to utter unfeelingness by direct and obstinate resistance. 
This offered grace of pardon may be slighted till offended mercy with- 
draw the boon ; and though you knock at the door, he from within 
shall answer you, and say, "Depart, I know you not." For these 
kind affections you may have no heart, and therefore you may see in 
them no beauty"; and the worship of God may lose its charm. You 
may forget the guides of your youth, who taught you thus to come up to 
the house of God ; or you may continue to practise it without thought, 
till you evaporate it into a dry and sapless formality, and so pass from 
these courts utterly unprepared for judgment and eternity : and when this 
is the case, remember that all your sin is aggravated, and the measure 
of the mercies you have slighted becomes the measure of your guilt. 

2. The second thought is encouraging. 

True, I may address some who may hitherto have been increasing 
this aggravated guilt. You have had no love for this saving truth. 
^Wany are the gracious checks and admonitions of the good Spirit 
which you have resisted ; your long-suffering Lord may say, " All the 
day long have I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying 
people ;" but such is his grace, that he stretches them out still : all the 
blessings which flow from the unspeakable gift are again offered you ; 
2 



SERMON XCII.] THE UNSPEAKABLE GIFT. 248 

this present ordinance is a new proof that he waits your return. O 
break from the world ; exercise the reason of men, and act on your 
own convictions ! Time flies ; death urges ; heaven invites ; blessings 
which pass not only utterance, but conception, are offered you ; all 
things are ready. In the unspeakable gift see the love of God ; his 
readiness to save. 

3. If the gift be unspeakable, from the veiy fulness and variety of 
its blessings, then have" we presented to us the noblest view of the 
true life of a Christian. 

In every other form of religion, or in those framed out of a spiritless 
and corrupted form of the true religion, we soon see all that they can 
give ; the spring is soon dry, or rather, it never flows but in the ima- 
gination of the deluded votary. But here, the fulness is inexhaustible, 
and spreads innumerable blessings before us in time and eternity. Now, 
the Scriptural rule is, " To him that hath shall be given, and he shall 
have abundance ;" that is, to him that makes use of what he hath ; to 
him who maintains his love for heavenly wisdom and truth ; to him 
who steadily and constantly acts upon his convictions, thus having his 
eye single ; to him who continually lives by faith in the great atone- 
ment ; to him who follows after holiness in all its branches, keeping 
and cultivating his heart with all diligence, and calling the graces im- 
planted in him into habitual use ; to him who is deeply and constantly 
sensible that his whole strength is in God, and that all the means of 
grace, whether private or public, as keeping his intercourse with hea- 
ven always open, are essential to his improvement and safety ; — to him 
that thus uses the gift shall be given, so that he shall have abundance. 
Yes, that light shall shed a brighter radiance on his intellect, and ever 
feed the hallowed, elevated musings of his spirit. The exercised con- 
science, the discerning mind, will try the things that differ ; and, more 
accurately perceiving the right, will walk in a path of light and evi- 
dence ; a perfected faith in Christ's atonement and intercession will 
banish all fear, and fill the mind with the joys of assured salvation ; 
love will exert all its victorious influence ; all things base and low will 
be consumed in the sacred fire ; every Christian temper will be 
matured ; the soul will thus dwell in God, and God in the soul, as in 
a temple built, and beautified and adorned by himself. How joyful 
then will be the approaches of the soul to God in worship ! With 
what freedom from distraction shall we then draw near to him ! How 
powerful will be our faith ! how prevalent our prayers ! " Surely," 
shall we then say, as we tread his courts, " surely this is none other 
than the house of God, this is none other than the gate of heaven." 
" Blessed," we shall say, " are they that dwell in thy house ; they shall 
still be praising thee." "How amiable are thy tabernacles, Lord 
of hosts !" You shall thus have abundance ; and, tracing to their 
source all the blessings you enjoy, all the yet greater blessings you 
hope for, in time your song shall be, " Thanks be unto God for his 
unspeakable gift ;" and gratitude for an infinite good spreading itself 
through the countless ages of eternity, shall still prompt the adoring 
exclamation, " Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." 

2 



244 THE GLOKY OF GOD IN THE [SERMON XCIH. 

Sermon XCIII. — The Glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ. 

" For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined 
in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face 
of Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. iv, 6. 

Among inquirers after religious truth, it is easy to distinguish two 
classes. One class there is who entirely disregard the manifestation 
of the glory of God — the Divine perfections, will, and purposes, — in 
the face of Jesus Christ. They tarn to nature, and there collect notices 
of God. They refer to the spiritual powers and faculties of their own 
minds, and endeavour to complete what is still wanting in the intima- 
tions of God which they find in the natural world. They refer to the 
moral feelings of their own hearts, and observe what is best adapted 
to man in his social and relative capacity ; and with these collections 
of opinions and facts, they construct their religious and moral system. 
But though they do not advert to the manifestation of God by Christ, 
mentioned in the text, they are indebted to it for all that is good in 
their system ; and what is false and defective arises from their wicked 
and contemptuous rejection of it. 

There is another class of a superior character. They acknowledge 
that God hath spoken to us by his Son ; and that his glory shines from 
the face, — the person, work, and offices — of our Lord ; but they seem 
not always to have pursued this subject to its full extent. They allow 
that a glory shines from the face of Jesus Christ upon what are called 
the peculiar doctrines of Christianity ; but they seem to fancy that 
there is a great body of religious truth which has been brought to light, 
or is capable of being brought to light, by other means, and in which 
they may expatiate without the aids of the Christian revelation. They 
turn for illumination, not to " the face of Christ," not to the mirror of 
the Christian system, but to the dim and unsteady reflections of human 
philosophy. 

It was not under this partial and limited view that the Apostle Paul 
considered the knowledge of Christ. To him it had an excellency fur 
which he suffered the loss of all things, and left him nothing to wish 
or hope beside. We never hear him making distinctions between 
natural religion and revealed religion. We never perceive in him an 
indication of dependence on his own great and cultivated powers, to 
give him, on any subject of moral or religious truth, views more ample, 
or more deep than were afforded by the doctrines he was inspired to 
teach. From all the lesser lights in the firmament he turned to one 
of unutterable and undecaying splendour. He saw the glory of God 
in the face of Jesus Christ ; and it was enough. He saw light no 
where else ; and the hemisphere it illuminated was too large even for 
the march of his mighty and majestic mind. 

This was the constant subject of his own thanksgivings ; and for this 
mercy: — the greatest that human beings could receive — he summoned 
the primitive Churches to bring their thanksgivings also. " Ye were 
once darkness ; but now are ye light in the Lord." The text was 
intended to excite the same emotion of grateful love. It reminds us, as 
well as the Corinthians, of what we owe to the Gospel ; and, while it 
calls for our gratitude, the terms in which it is expressed lay down an 



SERMON XCIII.] FACE OF JESUS CHRIST. 245 

important and profitable docrine. " God, who commanded the light to 
shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of 
the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ." 

We direct your attention to the two great points of instruction con- 
tained in the text. 

I. That the knowledge of the glory of God, his perfections and pur- 
poses, is given to us in the face of Jesus Christ. 

II. That the means by which this knowledge is attained by men is 
the shining of God into their hearts. 

I. We shall understand the meaning of the expression, " face of 
Jesus Christ," if we advert to the preceding chapter. 

Here the apostle speaks of the shining of the face of Moses, after he 
came down from the mount : and teaches us that this was symbolical. 
The " glory" was the type of that heavenly doctrine, those discoveries 
of the mercy of God in Christ, which the law contained. The " veil" 
was the type of the shadows and forms by which it was concealed. 
It was not so concealed, but that some rays broke forth on the faith- 
ful. They were also found looking through the veil, or lifting it up, 
that they might discover something of the Divine purposes. These 
were the " wondrous things" which David desired to see ; and he 
prayed that God would open his eyes to behold them. They would 
have been seen by all the Jews, had they not put the veil of prejudice 
upon their hearts, and thus rendered them dark and blind. But no veil 
is over the face of Christ. Truth and grace shine forth in him with 
unsuppressed splendour ; and when the veil is taken away from the 
heart, when God shines into it, then we all with open face behold as 
in a glass the glory of the Lord. 

This is the meaning of the allusion ; but the whole, stripped of its 
figurative dress, is embodied in this most important doctrine, that in 
Christ God hath made a revelation of his own glory, and in Christ 
alone. From henceforward we are not to look for the knowledge of 
the glory of God on the dull and shivered mirrors of human intelli- 
gence. That knowledge is given to us in the " face," the person, work, 
and offices, of Jesus Christ. 

1. The natural perfections of God, those profound and overwhelming 
glories of his nature, are displayed in him. 

If we consider them as announced in Scripture ; if there God is said 
to be immortal, eternal, infinite in knowledge, boundless in his pre- 
sence, and immutable in his nature ; all these attributes are affirmed 
of our Saviour Christ. He stands before us arrayed in all their pomp, 
the brightness of his Father's glory, the express image of his person. 
But if we lose sight of the Scripture testimony, and go to the vast 
tablet of nature, to collect from its innumerable inscriptions, that He 
who made all things must be before all things ; that He on whom all 
things depend most himself be independent ; that He who could create 
out of nothing must be absolutely God ; that He who could pour forth 
this profusion of grandeur and glory must have infinite perfections, and 
riches of power, wisdom, and goodness ; even when we look upon the 
face of nature, we look on the face of Jesus Christ. Others may neg- 
lect to consider the subject ; but the Christian will not forget that all 
this stupendous fabric is the work of Christ himself. All things were 
made by the Son, and for him ; and without him was not any thing 

2 



246 THE GL0KY OF GOD IN THE [SEHJION XCIII. 

made that was made. The perfections, therefore, which nature proves 
to be in the Author of nature are the perfections of Jesus ; and array- 
ed in them he stands before us as the image of the invisible God, show- 
ing what God is, by what he himself, co-equal and co-eternal with the 
Father, is ; and thus is the knowledge of the glory of God given us in 
the face of Jesus Christ. 

2. The glory of God sometimes signifies his truth ; those right ap. 
prehensions concerning himself, and the relations, duties, and hopes 
of his creatures, on which all practical religion rests ; and this is a 
glory which shines in Jesus Christ. 

It is in vain that we seek it any where but in him. It is a propo- 
sition not too bold, — it is one which admits of ample proof, — that there 
is no moral, no religious truth in the world, and none has ever been in 
it, which we do not owe to Jesus Christ. Is the law, the pure and holy 
law, under which all intelligent creatures are placed, a manifestation of 
the Divine glory 1 It is manifested by Christ. He is the Creator of men 
and angels. By him were all things created, whether thrones or domi- 
nions, or principalities, or powers. From him they derived their being, 
and the law of their being ; the law which is holy, and just, and good. 
Has man become guilty 1 Grace, as well as truth, came by Jesus Christ. 
The clearest discovery of grace was indeed made by him when he be- 
came incarnate ; but there has been no grace revealed to man in any 
age but by and through him. The first promise on which human hope 
rested, was the promise that he, " the Seed of the woman," should 
"bruise the serpent's head;" and if we find successive and brighter 
displays of grace in the writings of the Old Testament, " to him gave 
all the prophets witness, that through his name, whosoever believeth 
shall receive the remission of sins." They prophesied, says St. Peter, 
" of the grace which should come unto us at the revelation of Jesus 
Christ." Here, then, is the glory of God in the truth and purity of the 
law, and in the kindness, grace, and mercy of the Gospel ; and both 
seen in the face of Jesus Christ. The law and the G ospel comprehend 
the whole of moral and religious truth ; and where do we find either 
beside 1 Feeble reflections of both we find among the Gentiles ; but 
they are reflections from his original communications. Clearer disco- 
veries are found in the Jewish records ; but they are the inspirations 
of his Spirit. A full discovery of both is made in the Scriptures of the 
New Testament ; but he brought personally from heaven the truth 
which they embody, and spoke it in the ears of the evangelists and 
apostles. Where else do we find it ? We repeat the question. Bring 
us the nation entirely cut off" from these sources of information ; and 
where is the knowledge of God, of morals, of religion ? Bring your 
wisest sages, the profound reasoners, and investigators of truth ; and 
where are their discoveries ? They corrupt the truth which they have ; 
they darken the light that already shines ; but they discover nothing. 
No ; it is " God, who caused the light to shine out of darkness, that 
hath shined into our hearts, to give the knowledge of his glory in the 
face of Jesus Christ." The whole body of truth is collected in him ; 
and every ray of light, wherever dispersed, however bent and turned, 
by whomsover falsely claimed, in whatever school it has brightened 
the dark and perplexed page of human learning, has shined among 
men from the face of Jesus Christ. 



SERMOX XCIII.] FACE OF JESTJS CHRIST. 247 

3. To Jesus we owe the only complete manifestation of the moral 
attributes of God. 

How important it is to know that he is holy, that he is just, and that 
he is good, is too obvious to need proof. These are the great founda- 
tions of religion. They are the foundations of all duty, of all trust, of 
all hope, of all salutary fear. But if I close my eyes on the knowledge 
of the glory of God, as it is manifested in him, all my views on these 
great subjects are obscure and perplexed. Do I seek elsewhere for 
indications of the unspotted holiness of God ? I see, it is true, upon 
vice, visible marks of his displeasure ; but I also see that righteous- 
ness affords no exemption from calamity. Do I look for justice ? I 
see in some cases visitations of punishment ; but in others long delay, 
or entire exemption. Do I look for goodness ? 1 see an equal mixture 
and discordance. From the hand of the Ruler of the world I see both 
good and evil issue. Creatures are both happy and miserable : and if 
I please myself by reflecting that he giveth fruitful seasons ; that he 
openeth his hand, and satisfieth the desire of every living thing ; I am 
appalled, and know not how to extenuate his character, when I perceive 
him marching through the earth in awakened wrath, scattering plagues 
and famines ; and above all, I know not how to reconcile it to his com- 
passion and tenderness, that every living thing should be subject, daily 
subject, to suffering and death. Such, without a revelation, would be 
our embarrassments ; and perplexity on. these subjects would throw a 
darkening and distressing shade over every part of religion and future 
hope. 

But in Jesus the obscurity is removed. Inquire we if God is holy? 
Behold his image upon earth ; and see the demonstration in the per- 
fect purity of his life, and the spotlessness of his doctrine ; a doctrine 
which binds every vagrant appetite, which seizes the thoughts and 
imaginations of the heart, and declares that " except a man be born 
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Inquire we as to his jus- 
tice 1 See it in the sufferings of Christ in the garden and upon the 
cross. There it is demonstrated that God winks not at evil ; there 
justice demands the utmost farthing ; there it exacts its rigid satisfaction, 
nor permits weeping mercy itself to stretch out a hand of help, till it is 
made to appear to men and angels, to a universe of wondering and 
trembling intelligences that God is just when he justifieth the ungodly. 
And for love ? " Herein is love," — demonstration can go no higher ; 
no obscurity shades the glorious manifestation, — "herein is love; not 
that we loved God," and therefore had no claim upon him, " but that 
he loved us," who loved not him, " and gave his Son to be the propi- 
tiation for our sins." Seek the demonstration where you will beside, 
all other proofs fade before this. Tell us not of the heavens spangled 
with beauty, to ennoble our dwelling place the earth. Tell us not of 
the earth with her circling seasons, pouring her stores at our feet ; nor 
of any of these inferior and mixed expressions of the goodness and 
compassion of our God : for herein is love. This is the manifes- 
tation of it which meets every desire; which surpasses all human hope 
and human worthiness. It is this that kindles the swelling bosom of 
the Church on earth ; and it is this that will give rapture to the song 
ever new to all eternity. "Herein is love ;" and love harmonized with 
justice, truth, and holiness. 

2 



248 THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE [SERMON XCIII. 

4. In Jesus Christ alone we have a manifestation of the glory of 
God in the moral government of the world. 

Those who are the most apt to disregard the consideration of the 
person and offices of Christ, as the key to all religious knowledge, 
must frequently fancy that the most effectual method of obtainincr a 
knowledge of the Divine glories, is the careful study of the doctrine^of 
providence ; but of providence, whether as to individuals, to nations, 
or to the world at large, every view must be obscure and confused, 
which does not result from its connection with the work of Christ. If 
we look not on the glory of his face, we have seen that we have no 
adequate knowledge of the moral perfections of God, of holiness and 
truth, of justice, of goodness ; we know not the existence of a 
redeeming scheme in which all of them unite and harmonize ; and 
how then should we know the principles and intended results of his 
providential government 1 But in Christ the great reason of all pro- 
vidential arrangements is to be ascertained. There may be much 
difficulty in connecting every circumstance in our personal history with 
the design of God ; and more still, as to nations ; but the great prin- 
ciples of justice and grace run through the whole of them, and so often 
break the gloom as to explain the general tendency and direction. 
When I consider that I am redeemed by Christ, and that his great 
purpose is to save me, can I be at a loss to know why I am surrounded 
with blessings ? They are to lead me to repentance. I know why I 
am disappointed and afflicted. It is that I may be corrected, and 
warned of the guilt and danger of rejecting him. Do I not see why I 
am not suffered to rest in the creature ? It is, — and nothing but a 
knowledge of Christ can inform me of this great mercy, — that my soul 
may seek its true good and happiness in him. 

Nations, too, are under a government which, if there be no respect 
to Christ, cannot be understood. They are dealt with both in judgment 
and mercy, with reference to religious considerations. To Christ is 
given all power both in heaven and in earth. Nations are in the hands 
of a Mediator. Hence his long-suffering with their sins. Hence his 
acceptance of repentance. " At what instant I shall speak concerning 
a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and 
to destroy it ; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn 
from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto 
them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and 
concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it ; if it do evil in my 
sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good where- 
with I said I would benefit them," Jer. xviii, 7-10. Hence it is 
that nations have their periods of religious visitation ; and hence, too, 
the punishment which, as king, he inflicts upon them for their contempt 
of his truth, and their corruption of it ; often followed by long periods 
of political disaster, and religious darkness. ''The history of the 
world is the history of the Church ;" and, could Ave accurately trace 
it, we should perceive how acts of grace and justice succeed each 
other, or are mingled ; and that the whole is in proof of a government 
to which politicians have little respect, — the mediatorial government 
of Jesus Christ. 

We may go on from nations to the world at large ; and here most 
eminently the glory of God in his government of this lower world is 
2 



SERMON XCIII.] FACE OF JESUS CHKIST. 249 

manifested by and in our Lord Jesus Christ. With respect to the 
future condition of our world, I have often wondered what are the 
views of mere politicians, of men who have no knowledge of, or re- 
spect to, the great redeeming plan of the Father, to be conducted by 
the Son, and the agency of the Holy Spirit. They have seen nations 
rise and fall, flourish and decay ; science light her torch in every coun- 
try, and successively burn it out. All is change in a circle ; and the 
round of rise, and progress, and decay, wheels onward. On any prin- 
ciples, save those of our own revelation, this must be the case ; for no 
where else is there a remedy for vice ; and it is vice in all ages that 
has withered the strength, faded the glory, and laid prostrate the great- 
ness of all nations. To them is presented no better prospect for our 
world, than a constant succession of such changes ; and this indeed is 
indicated by a maxim of theirs founded on the past : " A nation is like 
the human body. It has its infancy, its youth, its manhood, and its 
old age." And surely this is melancholy enough ; that our modern 
cities shall be in ruins ; and the fields now covered with corn, and the 
valleys which rejoice and sing, shall present a scene of sterility, desola- 
tion, and silence ; while, in some distant part of the world, new empires 
shall rise, only to give place to the wastes of time in their turn. 
Where shall we fly from these appalling scenes, but to the glory of 
God, his glorious purposes, in Jesus Christ ? There another scene is 
unfolded. His plan has been obstructed, but not always. His Gospel 
shall be preached ; its influence shall be felt ; the principles of national 
decay shall be arrested. A glory is put upon every morally recovered 
nation; "and upon that glory there shall be a defence." Savages 
shall be reclaimed ; the earth peopled ; kingdoms shall rise under the 
hallowing influence of his religion ; his moral conquests shall go on ; 
and his peaceful kingdom shall be established, until all nations are 
blessed in him, and all nations call him blessed. 

5. The glorious purpose of God, in the forgiveness of the penitent 
who believes, and in the sanctification and glorification of believers, is 
manifested to us in the face of Jesus Christ. 

This to us all-important knowledge of the glory of God is most 
eminently and exclusively the revelation of Christ. Where else shall 
we go to seek it ? Could any reasoning of our own minds furnish us 
with such conceptions of God's transcendent mercy ? Does nature, 
with all her glories, teach us the doctrine of pardon 1 Can we infer, 
from providence that God will employ himself by his Holy Spirit to 
sanctify the soul of man, and dwell in it ? Is there any source of 
information but Christ, that our bodies shall be raised again ? that we 
shall meet in heaven ? that in that unsuffering world our immortal na- 
tures shall take up their everlasting residence? Certainly not. It is Jesus 
who is set forth as the propitiation for our sins ; it is Jesus who hath 
promised .his Holy Spirit; it is Jesus who said, "I am the resurrection 
and the life ; Jesus, on whose lips of truth and kindness many a weep- 
ing .Martha has hung, and heard him say, "Thy brother shall rise 
again Worn Jesus only have we learned that, "whom he called, 
them he also justified ; and whom he justified, them he also glorified." 
_ but by what means is all this knowledge of the glory of God to enter 

lu °, Ur m, eartS ' S ° aS t0 P roduce a11 ^s moral and sanctifying effects 
there l lhis question we now proceed to answer. It is, 



2 



250 



GLOHY OF GOD, ETC. [SERMON XCIII. 



II. By the shining of God into the heart. " God, who commanded 
the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give 
the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 

The doctrine taught us by the first part of the text is, that whatever 
glory shines from the face of Christ, and however this glory may be 
unveiled ; yet, while the heart is dark, it derives no benefit from all 
this manifestation. 

That darkened heart is our heart until God by special acts of his 
grace shines into it. The veil is upon it. 

The love of sin veils the heart. This is the source of all error. 
Men " love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil." 
And " every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the 
light, lest his deeds should be made manifest." 

A worldly spirit darkens the heart. Where that spirit is cherished 
and predominates, there is no taste for religious truth. In this state 
of mind words of truth fall upon the ear, and the doctrines of salvation 
are exhibited ; but no serious attention to them is yielded. The man 
of the world has no leisure for the consideration of such subjects. 
Thus time runs on, and death too often arrests the unprepared spirit, 
which is hurried to its final account in a state of guilt and sin. A 
worldly man regards not the work of the Lord, neither considers the 
operation of his hands. 

Sloth darkens the spirit. Why are we not seen at the posts of wisdom's 
door? Why are we not all attention in the house of God? Why do we 
not " search the Scriptures ?" Why do we not breathe the ardours of our 
souls in our closets ? Why do we not direct our hearts to God, and look 
for " the wisdom that cometh from above ?" It is sloth that keeps us back ; 
and yielding to this ignoble feeling, our hearts remain hard and cold. 

A proud and self-sufficient spirit darkens the heart. We fancy that 
we are already wise and instructed. We are too proud to sit at the 
feet of Christ as disciples. We rather assume the air and character 
of masters. Or we think that we are righteous ; and until we feel our- 
selves lost and undone, the veil will be on our hearts as to the glory 
which shines in the face of Jesus Christ. 

God hath shone first upon us with feeble rays, and we have rejected 
the light and shut our eyes against it. Let us pray then for the pouring 
out of all this splendour ; and open our hearts to admit the light. The 
admission of it will cost us pangs of sorrow ; for the shining is on the 
heart ; and it will give us to see and feel what the heart is. The 
humbling confession will then be extorted, " Behold, I am vile. I have 
heard of thee by the hearing of the ear ; but now mine eye seeth thee. 
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." 

The shining of this light will humble our pride. Like the psalmist 
we shall confess, " So foolish and ignorant was I. that I was even 
like a beast before thee." Yet when the docile spirit is wrought, 
discoveries the most delightful are made to the heart. " The secret 
of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show them his 
covenant." The light will show us Christ, as our atoning Saviour, and 
as our powerful Advocate with God ; it will inspire us with confidence 
in him, and then shall we be " filled with all joy and peace in believing, 
and abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost." Under 
this inspiration the soul is daily transformed, and fitted for heaven ; 
2 



SERMON XCIV.] THK VISION OF ISAIAH. 251 

" Changed from glory into glory, 
Till in heaven we take our place." 

We learn from this entire subject, 

1. That if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. 

tremble lest this should be your fearful state. These things are 
hid from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes. " The meek 
will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way;" while 
the careless, the impenitent, the worldly, the unbelieving, will be for 
ever abandoned to their own blindness and folly, and to the bitter con- 
sequences of their sin. 

2. There is no true light in the heart, but that which is accompanied 
with Divine life. 

Your speculative knowledge, however proud you may be of it, is 
dark indeed. Do you know a God of holiness, and not tremble before 
him? of justice, and not fear his wrath against sin? Do you know a 
Saviour, and not believe in him, and love him ? Impossible. You are 
still in darkness. Tell us not that you can name all the terms of 
theology, and estimate the correctness of creeds. Light in the head, 
and light in the heart, are distinct. If light were in your hearts, it 
would be otherwise with you than it is. You would be humble and 
spiritual, dead to sin, and alive to things Divine and holy. 

3. Those that are in the light must take care to walk in it. 

It is vouchsafed to us for the purpose of leading us to the attainment 
of all the salvation which is by Christ Jesus, and of regulating our 
whole spirit and conduct. 

4. Have you so much light ? I put it to you, whether you will not 
pity those who sit in darkness ? 

Such is the wretched state of the heathen, for whose instruction and 
salvation we are bound to pray and labour. 



Sermon XCIV. — Isaiah's Vision. 



" In the year that KingUzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, 
high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphimg ': 
each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he 
covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and 
said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts : the whole earth is full of his glory. 
And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house 
was filled with smoke. Then said I, Wo is me ! for I am undone ; because I 
am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips • 
for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the 
seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the ton<rs 
irom on the altar : and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched 
thy lips ; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged," Isaiah vi, 1-7. 

God is invisible ; yet in that heavenly world in which he has his 
special and eternal residence, he manifests himself in ineffable glory 
dwelling in what the Scriptures call "the light which no man can 
approach unto. 

Of that heavenly world, the tabernacle and temple were splendid 
emblems; they were "patterns of heavenly things." But why the 

2 



252 THE VISION OF ISAIAH. [SERMON XCIV. 

astonishing fact, that when sinful creatures erected a tent in the wil- 
derness, and a temple, subsequently, at Jerusalem, the visible glory of 
God descended, taking possession of the place 1 God thus came down 
from heaven to earth, with all these impressive circumstances of visible 
majesty, to teach his creatures that he was awfully glorious, and fear- 
ful even in his praises ; that even in his acts of grace his holiness is 
solemnly, declared ; and thus to show with what reverence and purity 
man ought to approach to him. 

So when Isaiah was to be appointed to an office in which he was to 
fear God, and not the face of man, and which, to give it weight and 
authority, required an entire sanctity, a scene similar to that which had 
been displayed in the temple at its consecration, but greatly heightened 
and magnified, was disclosed to him in vision. The space of this 
visionary temple appears to have been far more ample than that of the 
one at Jerusalem ; the throne was greatly elevated, it was ''high, and 
lifted up ;" the " train," the " skirts" (as in the margin) of the cloud of 
the Divine presence filled the whole place ; instead of the carved re- 
presentations of the cherubim of glory fixed on the mercy seat, the 
prophet beholds the cherubim themselves, living, and all ardour, activity, 
and adoration ; they are not represented in the vision as the cherubim 
in the holiest of all, silently gazing on the glory of God and the mys- 
teries of his covenant, but as hymning his praises, proclaiming his 
spotless purity, and declaring " the whole earth to be full of his glory." 
The prophet, beholding the wondrous scene, sinks oppressed and self- 
abhorred, until a coal from the altar touched his lips, and he is thus 
sanctified to the service of God, and put among his ministers. 

Such visions occur not now, because they have all been superseded 
by that eternally glorious manifestation displayed to all, and throughout 
all ages, by God in Christ Jesus, reconciling the world unto himself; 
but they are left on record for the continual instruction of men ; they 
are scenes in God's temple, and ever present to the eye of devotion 
and faith ; and to our faith and to our devotion, they must all be mani- 
fest, or we shall neither be his spiritual worshippers here on earth, nor 
admitted into his heavenly temple hereafter. You come here in acts 
of solemn worship, to seek God : turn aside, then, to see this great 
sight. Behold, in these temple scenes, both what the Lord your God 
is, and what he requires from you. 

I. The first of these temple scenes presents to our view the majesty 
of God : " I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high, and lifted up." 
One of the first and most important truths for us to learn is the abso- 
lute rule of God. The proud king of Babylon was banished from the 
society of men, and placed among the beasts of the earth, till he was 
brought to acknowledge " that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of 
men ;" and the dispensations of God as to the world, whether of judg- 
ment or mercy, will never close until all shall feel and confess that he 
is King of kings, and Lord of lords, and that he shall reign for ever 
and ever. Mark, then, the fact as displayed in this temple scene : he 
hath dominion ; he sitteth upon a throne ', the Lord is King. He did 
not, when he had made the world, retire into the depths of his own 
Godhead, leaving it without notice and government ; but as by him all 
things were made, so by him do all things still consist ; all things are 
under his dominion and law. 
2 



SERMON XCIV.] THE VISION OF ISAIAH. 253 

The natural world is ruled by Him : he wheels its revolutions, and 
leads up its seasons; he controls its mightiest and most restless ele- 
ments-whirlwinds and tempests are but his servants; he sets bounds 
to the 'waters, and says to the sea, » Hitherto shalt thou come, but no 
farther, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed." And the world of 
mankind is equally under his rule : he has written his laws both on 
tables of stone, and on fleshly tables of the heart ; he commands the 
obedience of men, visits them for their sins, and marches through the 
earth putting down one, and setting up another ; and who shall stay his 
hand, or say to him, What doest thou ? Nor is his kingdom confined 
to earth : it extends to heaven, and controls the highest prder of beings 
there. So in the vision of these adoring seraphim : among other uses 
of their wings, <• with twain they did fly ;" to denote their ready obe- 
dience ; and of these highest and most glorious ranks of created beings 
we may say, " These are all thy servants." 

But mark the scenic circumstances. He sitteth upon his throne : 
this is the attitude of supremacy and dignity ; he sitteth while all other 
beings stand before him to receive his commands, bow in adoration, or 
are prostrate in abasement. He sitteth upon his throne : it is the attitude 
of ease and perfect security. All things change and pass away ; the 
time approaches when heaven and earth shall flee away from the face 
of him that sitteth upon the throne, and no place be found for them ; 
but though these shall perish, yet shall he endure ; though they shall 
be changed, he continues the same, and his years shall have no end. 
No rebellions shake the throne of God ; though " the heathen rage, 
and the people imagine a vain thing," yet " he that sitteth in the heavens 
shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision." The throne of 
God is a rock in the midst of the ever-rolling ocean of created exist- 
ence, that heaves and swells with ceaseless change ; but, in comparison 
of Him, its mightiest billows have but their moment of existence, and 
sink into the mass at the base of the immovable throne of the Ever- 
lasting One. 

But, above all, mark the place of his throne as displayed in this 
wonderful vision : it is not exhibited as if placed amidst the withered 
scenes of paradise, blasted by man's fatal transgression, guarded by the 
cherubim and flaming sword, forbidding all access to the tree of life : 
it is not shown on the rock of Horeb, veiled with clouds and darkness, 
the lightnings issuing forth, and the thunder rolling, and the clangours 
of the angel's trumpets sounding forth, all things marking the presence 
of the sovereign Lawgiver, and declaring the terrors of his law to guilty 
man : not on the cinerous ruins of a smoking world, the wreck of all 
these scenes of grandeur and loveliness. There it shall stand at the 
last, when the clement mediatorial hour is past, and no sinner thence- 
forth shall be received to mercy ; there it shall stand, but, thank God, 
it stands not there now. His throne is seen by the prophet where we 
may see it ourselves : it stands in the temple ; it has been sprinkled 
with the blood of propitiation ; it is now the mercy seat. To the truly 
penitent all its terror appears softened with grace. From the height 
of that glory he looks down upon him who is poor and of a contrite 
spirit, and who trembles at his word ; he stretches out from it his 
sceptre to encourage you to draw nigh, and bids you, at this hour, seek 
and find his mercy, present your petitions, and bear away his blessing. 

2 



254 THE VISION OF ISAIAH. [SERMON XCIV. 

Bow, then, in deep reverence before the majesty of God, but come 
boldly to the throne of grace ; confess your sins, trust in the victim 
whose blood has been sprinkled there, and take your pardon as the gift 
of his love ; commit all your ways to him who thus in grace rules over 
all, and he will show you that, high and lifted up as he is, you shall 
not be forgotten of him, but that the very hairs of your head are num. 
bered, and all your steps directed by him. 

II. The second of these temple scenes displays to us the ineffable 
and incomprehensible nature of God. 

Glorious as are the manifestations, clear as are the revelations of 
God, — through the whole series of ages this grand revelation which 
we possess has been brightening into ampler developements, — yet let 
not the vanity of man suppose that he can, by searching, find out God, 
or know the Almighty to perfection. This is scenically, but most 
impressively, represented to us in the vision before us : his train — the 
skirts of the Shekinah — filled the temple, its fainter rays beaming 
from the central blaze in the holiest of all, and irradiating the more 
distant objects. But even that was too much for man ; and it is therefore 
added, "And the house was filled with smoke ;" a veil was thus drawn 
over what was too bright and dazzling for mortal vision ; and though 
God dwelt in the light, yet it was light involving itself in thick dark- 
ness : the prophet thus saw in vision what the psalmist had before 
declared, that " clouds and darkness are round about him ;" as the 
children of Israel beheld "the glory of the Lord appear in the 
cloud." 

My brethren, we come to the temple to be reminded that revelation 
has not superseded mystery ; that, after all these disclosures, " Lo, 
these are but parts of his ways, and how little a portion is heard of 
him !" As to his dispensations, we are still to walk by faith rather than 
by sight ; and as to the depths of his nature, rather to adore than rea- 
son. Consider, then, this subject with holy awe, and endeavour to 
impress on your minds the practical consequences which depend upon 
it : it is the nature of an infinite Being to be incomprehensible by finite 
beings ; he must be mysterious ; the train of his glory must enwrap 
itself in cloud ; and after all these bursts of splendour it is still true, 
that " the Lord hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness." 
If we could fully know God, we must either be equal to him, or he 
must lose the glory of his nature and come down to ourselves : this is 
true philosophy, and true religion accords with it. 

The most favoured saints have not found out the Almighty to perfec- 
tion. There is the answer to the prayer of Moses, " I beseech thee 
show me thy glory:" "And he said, Thou canst not see my face. 
And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put 
thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I 
pass by : and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back 
parts ; but my face shall not be seen :" the whole body of glory was 
to be put out of sight, like the sun below the horizon, and only the 
twilight, the light intermingled with darkness, to be disclosed to mortal 
gaze. So was it with St. Paul, wondrous man as he was, and endowed 
with so many gifts : " And now," said he, " we see through a glass 
darkly ;" and after an amazing sweep of thought along the Divine dis- 
pensations, he stops on the brink, and cries, " O the depth of the 
2 



SERMON XCIV.] 



THE VISION OF ISAIAH. 255 



riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! how unsearchable 
are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !" Nay, go to the 
angels that excel in strength,— in strength of intellect : seraphs gaze, 
but they have not, by searching, found out God. Why are they before 
the cloud, as well as in the light of the Divine presence ? Why are 
they still gazing ? This is their constant attitude ; new wonders open 
to their view, fresh developements are vouchsafed, and " O the depth 
of the wisdom and knowledge of God !" is as truly the language of 
angels as of men. 

then, my God, let me remember this when dark and inexplicable 
dispensations surround me ! I cannot fathom thy counsels ; but I 
know that in them there is the highest reason. Let me remember this 
when I look abroad on thy public dispensations to the world : if I 
cannot trace thy footsteps as to myself, how much more intricate must 
be thy plans as to millions of immortal men ! But what is dark to me 
is light to thee : with thee is no darkness at all ; for it is the imper- 
fection of the creature which creates it, as the mists arising from earth 
and gathering into clouds may obscure the brightness of the sun, 
while his own region is undimmed by a vapour, and — the true emblem 
there of thee — he dwells in his inaccessible splendour. Let me 
remember this when bold men would tempt me to speculate by the aids 
of my own weak reason on thy perfections. I shrink from the attempt : 
I content myself with thy own word, with that measure of light which 
it hath pleased thee to give ; and I dare not break through to gaze 
where "dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear." And let me 
remember this in every solemn act of worship, that I may put forth all 
my strength in serving thee : this is the reason for supreme love and 
supreme praise. The glories yet to be revealed are infinite, continu- 
ally unfolding in new disclosures of eternal perfection ; well, therefore, 
is it said by the author of Ecclesiasticus, " When ye glorify the Lord, 
exalt him as much as ye can ; for even yet will he far exceed : and 
when ye exalt him, put forth all your strength, and be not weary ; for 
ye can never go far enough. Who hath seen him, that he might tell 
us ? and who can magnify him as he is ? There are yet hid greater 
things than these be, for we have seen but a few of his works." 

III. The third view presented by this vision is that of the adorable 
and awful holiness of God. 

At all times, and especially in drawing near to him, the most lively 
impressions of the Divine holiness ought to rest on our minds ; and to 
this subject our attention is constantly and powerfully drawn through- 
out the whole Scriptures. Mark his eminent titles : " The Holy One 
of Israel ;" " A God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is 
he;" "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity." Mark it in 
his acts, especially in the constitution of man : he has connected mis- 
ery with every degree of vice ; happiness with holiness. Mark it in 
his law : that is the visible expression of his own purity, and therefore 
holy, just, and good. Mark it in his visible image on earth, his Son 
incarnate : see there how truly venerable, as well as amiable, is perfect 
goodness. Mark it in his Gospel : to wash away sin there must be 
the blood of the spotless Lamb of God ; the cross declares the love 
ot Jf od t° ™an, but lt Glares his awful holiness too ; and then the gift 
ot the Spirit, to regenerate and sanctify man. Mark it in his judg. 

2 



256 THE VISION OF ISAIAH. [SEHMOX XCIV. 

ments : what are the sorrows and pains of earth, what death, what hell 
itself, but fearful declarations of the just and holy displeasure of God 
against sin ? Mark it in the rewards of the righteous : all pure and 
holy, and requiring purity and holiness in order to their possession and 
enjoyment. Mark it in the place of this vision : it is the holy of 
holies, the holy place of the Holy One, that is, of the holy, blessed, 
and glorious Trinity ; hear the adoring hymn of the seraphim ; to the 
King, the Lord of hosts, they bring the acknowledgment of his holi- 
ness ; and see them bowing with prostrate awe ; " with twain they 
covered their faces," veiling themselves in the presence of the Divine 
glory, as though feeling' the force of those strong words, " He charged 
his angels with folly, and the heavens are not clean in his sight." 

If angels tremble while they gaze, what, then, should man feel ? 

IV We have the answer in the next scene which the vision pre- 
sents ; that of a sinful man convicted and laid prostrate and silent be- 
fore this holy God : " Then said I, Wo is me ! for I am undone ;" as 
Lowth gives it us, " I am dumb," " I am silenced." And why thus 
dumb ? " I am a man of unclean lips," and therefore unfit to take a 
part in these celestial services ; I am dumb, I am unable to justify 
myself; I attempt it not; I can urge nothing against a sentence 
which should exclude me from the service and presence of this most 
holy God. 

Behold in this our own sad picture : " We are men of unclean 
lips." The expression refers not to the lips only ; we are entirely 
unholy, and therefore are our lips unholy, and unfit to pronounce the 
name of the Holy One, unfit to pray, to praise. Nor is it our case 
alone : we " dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips ;" our race 
is fallen, our associates are like ourselves. How obvious is thi3 ! 
Think of your open violations of God's law ; of your indulged thoughts 
of evil, still more numerous than your actions ; of your evil tempers, 
such as the pride which has elated you, the anger which has inflamed 
you, the malice which has burned smoulderingiy, waiting for the fit 
occasion to burst forth, or the envy which has corroded you. Think 
of your love of the world, your creature idolatry, your forgetfulness of 
God, your resolute opposition to his will. Think of your insensibility 
to the love of Christ, your resistance of the Holy Spirit, your care to 
close your hearts against him, perhaps your profane mockings at his 
work in others. Think of your real unbelief : you have cast his words 
behind you, and disregarded them as though utterly unworthy of credit ; 
and when you have, in conformity with established customs, engaged in 
his worship, with what formality and lifelessness has it been done ! 
Are not these your sins ? Do they not appear to you as innumerable ? 
And must not the heart that originated them be " desperately wicked '.'" 
Thus I charge the facts upon you ; but I call you, likewise, to contrast 
all this with that display of the holiness of God which this vision 
unfolds. The God whom Isaiah saw is here ; open your eyes and 
behold him in his word : his throne is high and lifted up ; his train 
fills the spacious temple of the universe ; heaven and earth are full of 
the majesty of his glory ; and how often, at his voice, do " the posts 
of the door," the very foundations of earth, " move" and shake ! Even 
now are seraphs veiling their faces, and crying, " Holy, holy, holy is 
the Lord of hosts !" And even now many a sinful man, in the search 
2 



SERMON XCIV.] THE VISION OF ISAIAH. 257 

ings of his own heart, in his closet, struck by the Divine purity, cries, 
« Wo is me ! for I am undone." And is there not the same wo against 
you 1 the wo of the law : " Cursed is every one that continueth not in 
all things written in the book of the law, to do them;" the wo of the 
Gospel : " Without holiness no man shall see the Lord ;" the wo of a 
miserable, because hopeless, death ; the wo of the judgment day ; the 
wo of an eternal exclusion from heaven, never to bear part in the song, 
at once adoring and transporting, " Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of 
hosts!" What are your own sentiments ? Are you insensible to all this ? 
Then the wo will go home with you ; it will hang over you by night 
and by day. But O, if the conviction is fastened on your conscience 
and you are now sinking in guilty shame and abasement ; if you are 
saying, " Wo is me, for I am dumb," my lips are sealed, I cannot deny 
the charge ; and your sighs are arising and speaking what words cannot 
with sufficient emphasis declare, " Behold, I am vile, what shall I an- 
swer thee? I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." 

V- Then turn to the final view, the last of these temple scenes, — 
and, thank God, not an unfrequent one, — a convicted, self-abased, and 
penitent man pardoned, and consecrated to the service of God : " Then 
flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which 
he had taken with the tongs from off the altar. And he laid it upon 
my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips ; and thine iniquity 
is taken away, and thy sin purged." 

What are we taught by this wondrous representation ? That for 
guilty man there is pardon, that for unholy man there is purification, 
and that lips, once unclean, but now sanctified, may join in the hymns 
of seraphim, and, without dread, approach to God, and celebrate the 
glories even of his holiness : this we are taught, but not this only ; not 
merely is the fact, but the manner of it, brought before us. See, then, 
the means: the instrument of purification is fire; but not any kind 
of fire, fire from any place ; it is fire from the altar, the altar where 
atonement is made for sin ; fire, therefore, both of Divine origin, and 
coming to us through the great Propitiation. We can be at no loss 
for an interpretation of the symbols thus employed : our altar is the 
cross ; the propitiatory sacrifice, the spotless Lamb of God ; by the 
merit of his death, and the baptizing fire of his Spirit, are the guilty 
and polluted pardoned and sanctified to God. O thou, then, who art 
saying « Wo is me ! for I am dumb ;" who hidest thy unhallowed face 
in the dust before God ; lift up thine head ; there must be an applica- 
tion to thy soul, as of the coal to the prophet's lips. But God has his 
messengers to bring his blessings near : reject them not ; receive them 
by taith and a voice from heaven shall speak in thy inmost soul, and 
say « ihine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged." 

fnA v Wha i ^f be th \ result ? Why, then the wo shall be removed ; 
or who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect ? It is God 
mat justifieth : who is he that condemneth ? It is Christ that died." 
show for e th a tL n ° gG / dumb \ our H P S are opened, and our mouths 
hZwS m Pr T ° U ! ;P a / donin g God. Now, then, pardoned and 
.m Tth? ' g °, t0 I our God with0 «t fear ; go as to the temple, and 
imitate the seraphs there ; gaze with them on the glory of God in 

them « wll I ISam Av SaW h - S gl ° ry ' and s P ake ofhim ' Adore with 
Vol n W1DgS they COvered their feet '" Amon S 



258 THE ANGEL FLYING THROUGH [SERMON XCV. 

orientals this expresses reverence ; and well may you bow in humble 
reverence before him : the sense of pardon will humble you, even while 
it fills you with holy exultation ; there will be none of the boldness of 
self confidence ; you will be confounded, and never open your mouth 
in boasting, when God is pacified toward you for all that you have 
done. "And with twain they covered their face:" and you behold 
the glory of the Lord, and it may well dazzle and overpower you by 
the grandeur of its displays, though they teach you the love as well as 
the holiness of God. And go serve with them : " with twain they did 
fly :" they stood ready to execute his commands ; and you, too, are 
called to be his cheerful servants, to worship at his footstool when he 
calls you there, and, when he sends you forth, readily and swiftly to 
move to do all his will. Thus gaze, thus adore, thus serve with the 
seraphim, live and love like them, until you enter the temple in heaven, 
and the vision is changed into an eternal reality. 



Sermon XCV. — The Angel flying through the Midst of Heaven. 



" And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting 
Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kin- 
dred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory 
to him ; for the hour of his judgment is come : and worship him that made heaven, 
and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters," Rev. xiv, 6, 7. 

The prophets of the Old Testament spoke of the sufferings of Christ, 
and of the glory that should follow ; they also described the time and 
circumstances of his birth, the nature of his miracles, and the manner 
in which he should exercise his ministry ; yet, for the most part, they 
pass at once from his cross to his throne, from his sufferings to his uni- 
versal victories, annihilating, as it were, by their rapid flight, the whole 
of the intervening pefiod, — a period marked by the terrible struggles, 
and the various conditions, of the Church. 

This chasm in prophecy is filled up by the prophets of the New 
Testament, especially by this book, of which the Church of Christ is 
the subject ; her afflictions, persecutions, and final triumphs are here 
described, as are also her enemies, their malice, fraud, violence, tem- 
porary successes, and final overthrow. Angels, saints, devils, all oc- 
cupy their respective places in these scenic and sublime visions ; hea- 
ven, earth, and hell are, by turns, agitated in a struggle on which hu- 
man salvation depends, till the glorious catastrophe unfolds itself, and 
all the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God and 
his Christ. 

In the chapter preceding that out of which the text is taken we have 
a prediction of the rise of the beast, the great anti-christ, the Church 
of Rome ; all the characters in the prophecy apply to that Church, — 
persecution, idolatry, blasphemy : " And he opened his mouth in blas- 
phemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and 
them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war 
with the saints, and to overcome them : and power was given him 
over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations," Rev. xiii, 6, 7. That anti- 
2 



SERMON XCV.] THE MIDST OF HEAVEN. 259 

christian power almost destroyed the Church, the true spiritual Church, 
and filled the world with darkness. 

Yet before the final destruction of this power the vision of the text 
commences ; for afterward another angel followed, saying, " Babylon 
the great is fallen, is fallen," Rev. xviii, 2. The period of the text is, 
therefore, probably that of the reformation. At that period the angel, 
the reformed ministry, was seen in the midst of heaven ; before him 
the heavens were dark ; not only was there no angel to be seen, but 
scarcely a star appeared to lead the world to Christ. Now an angel 
unfolds the volume of the everlasting Gospel : before this period the 
Bible was hidden, and there was little or no preaching of the truth as 
it is in Jesus ; and the men who sustained the office of ministers in the 
Church, were occupied in the performance of vain ceremonies : but, 
at this important period, the Scriptures were translated into the various 
languages of Europe, a preaching ministry was commenced, and a great 
part of the kingdom of the beast fell. 

But this new state of things in the Church was not confined to the 
time of the reformation ; a preaching ministry then commenced, but 
the commission of the angel was to all nations ; and the angel pro- 
ceeds in his course. The description contained in the text answers 
particularly to the ministry of our day. Now the sacred roll of the 
Scriptures is unfolded in the sight of all nations ; now the angel has 
passed the bounds of Christendom, and cries to heathen lands, " Fear 
God, and give glory to him ; for the hour of his judgment is come : 
and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the 
fountains of waters." 

Regarding the text, therefore, as a prediction of a zealous ministry, 
to be raised up by God for the conversion of all nations, and that even 
now it is receiving its accomplishment, let us consider, 

I. The subject of its ministration. 

II. The distinguishing characteristics of that ministration. 

III. Its extensive commission. 

IV. Its objects. 

We direct our attention, 

I. To the subject of its ministration : " the everlasting Gospel." 

This blessing God designs by the Christian ministry to confer upon 
the whole world. It is " everlasting," the Gospel of ages : nor is it 
any new invention ; it was preached to the patriarchs, adumbrated in 
the law, and a subject of prophecy : and it will never end ; no future 
dispensation of Divine truth and grace will ever be introduced, so as to 
supersede it ; it reveals the full salvation which God has provided for 
lost mankind, and nothing more, therefore, is needed. Let it go, then, 
into all nations, and be proclaimed to people of every tongue and clime, 
and the world will prove, by experience, that it needs nothing more to 
make it holy and happy. Nor shall it ever perish : " All flesh is grass, 
and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, 
and the flower thereof falleth away : but the word of the Lord endureth 
for ever. And this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto 
you," 1 Peter i, 24, 25. 

It is not my design to explain what is comprehended in the term 
"Gospel:" this is a subject with which, I presume, you are all ac- 
quainted ; but as this is the boon which we propose to send to all the 

2 



260 THE ANGEL FLYING THROUGH [SERMON XCV. 

world, we may briefly dwell upon the suitability of the Gospel to the 
wants of the heathen ; and on this ground a motive to our pious exer- 
tions. 

1. The heathen have lost the knowledge of God. 

We may infer the greatness of this loss from the fact, that the know, 
ledge of God is the only foundation of religion. But how can this 
knowledge be restored ? It is only taught by three volumes, — nature, 
providence, and revelation, either traditional or written. But nature 
and providence never taught this knowledge without the comment of 
revelation ; and hence as the revealed truth of God perished among 
the people, the characters of God, impressed upon his works and ways, 
became indistinct : " the heavens " ceased to " declare the glory of 
God, and the firmament to show forth his handy work. Day unto day" 
no longer " uttered speech," nor did " night unto night" any more ac- 
tually " show knowledge" concerning him ; and providence became, in 
the estimation of mankind, a mere rabble of events, without discipline 
and without a leader. 

Nothing restores the lost knowledge of God but the Gospel. We 
have no instance upon record in which that knowledge was restored by 
any other means ; but where the Gospel comes, it may be said, " the 
true light now shineth." As the orb of day, rolling up the steep of the 
horizon, lifts a beauteous world out of mist and darkness, and presents 
it to the wondering eye, so the great truths of religion are seen in all 
their sublimity and grandeur wherever the Gospel comes : 

" The' Invisible appears in sight, 
And God is seen by mortal eye." 

This light emblazons all nature ; the " heavens" again " declare the 
glory of God," and the events of life, in all their variety, connect them- 
selves with a guiding hand ; and then, to the teaching of nature and 
providence, it adds its own glorious revelations of grace and mercy to 
sinners, through the sacrifice and intercession of Christ. 

2. They are without the knowledge of their sinful state. 

We grant that they have a general knowledge that they are sinners ; 
for they are subject to the accusations of an evil conscience, and to 
many fears : but they have no adequate conception of the extent of 
their guilt, and the greatness of their danger ; for they know not the 
"exceeding sinfulness of sin." Yet this knowledge is necessary; for 
there is no acceptance without it ; pardon is never vouchsafed unless 
the heart be broken and contrite. In regard to the heathen, the igno- 
rance in question is fatal to the order of society : the greatest evils 
are indulged among them, and are even practised without shame. To 
have a salutary conviction of sin, the proper standard of holiness and 
righteousness is necessary. The standard which was formerly set up 
in heathen lands has been brought down ; but let the everlasting Gos- 
pel be sent, with its holy laws, its awfully reverential examples, with 
its attractive but reproving graces, and what is the effect ? Hear it in 
St. Paul : " When the commandment came," — the commandment illu- 
mined by the Gospel, — " sin revived, and I died." Then penitence 
was produced, godly sorrow for sin ensued, and the foundation of every 
personal and social virtue was laid. Heathen practices, however re- 
putable among heathens, are things of which those who are enlightened 
and converted by the Gospel "are now ashamed," Rom. vi, 21. 
2 



SEE3I0N XCV.] 



THE MIDST OF HEAVEN. 261 



3. They are without the knowledge of acceptance and pardon through 
the true Mediator. 

It is true that we find among them temples, sacrifices, and priests ; 
they have a whole sacrificial system ; but of what avail is it 1 Accord- 
ing to the Scriptures, the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away 
sin. Among the heathen the true and ancient intent of sacrifice is 
lost ; it is no longer typical of the perfect sacrifice of Christ, but is 
used as a mere ceremony ; and after all their sacrifices sin remains, 
the justice of God is not satisfied, but his wrath abides upon them. 

What is the principle of sacrifice among the modern heathen ? I 
once thought that all their sacrifices and blood shedding were an indi- 
cation of a sense of guilt, and of a blind, but eaimest, effort to propitiate 
a justly-deserved vengeance of superior powers ; but I am compelled 
by what I have read, and by converse with missionaries, to give up 
this view of their case. In the generality of them, at least, there is 
nothing that approaches to what is so like a gracious principle : the ob- 
ject which they have in view is some temporal interest, or, at best, the 
avoiding of some future punishment, and the securing of a better state 
hereafter. it is pitiable to see rites which formerly were expressive 
of the sorrows of a contrite heart, now a barren custom ; and various 
forms of terror, as to the future, flitting constantly before the mind, and 
arising not from a sense of deserved wrath, but from the malice of 
some demon god ; and yet that no relief is obtained ! 

But the " everlasting Gospel" is speeding its way to them, and that 
testifies of Jesus ; of Jesus who came from heaven, who died, and rose 
again, and maketh intercession for us ; the " man who receiveth sin- 
ners," who says, " Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy 
laden, and I will give you rest ;" whose blood " purgeth the conscience 
from dead works," whose Spirit attests the pardon of sin, whose guardian 
care is the refuge in all the storms of life, and whose entrance into 
heaven has opened the way to all that follow him in the path of holy 
obedience. 

From such a system we have every thing to hope ; it is the power 
of God unto salvation. This, then, is the subject of the missionary 
ministry. We proceed to consider, 

II. The characteristics of this ministry. 

As we are interested in the message, so are we in the manner of its 
communication. 

1. It is the ministry of men. 

The term " angel" is not a designation of nature, but of office ; mi- 
nisters are called angels in Holy Scripture. The ministry of the Gospel 
is exercised by men, that they may not only teach doctrine, but be the 
witnesses of what they teach. Angels could give instruction in a more 
perfect manner than men ; but having never experienced the sorrows 
of repentance, and the joys of pardon, having never gained the mastery 
over a corrupted nature, they could not say, " What we have felt and 
seen declare we unto you ;" nor could they say, as the result of their 
own experience, in reference to the process of salvation, " We aro 
witnesses of these things." Such, however, is the language of those 
ministers whom the Lord sends on his errands of grace and mercy. 

The " treasure" of evangelical truth is also put into " earthen ves- 
sels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of men ;" 



262 THE ANGEL FLYING THROUGH [SEKMON XCV. 

feeble instrumentality is employed, that the glory of the work may 
redound to God. O glorious triumph of the weak over the strong ! 
Things that are not bring to nought things that are ; that no flesh may 
glory in the presence of the Lord, but the work may be acknowledged 
to be his own. 

Nor is it unworthy of remark, that if angels had been employed in 
the preaching of the Gospel, no expense would have been incurred, 
and the co-operation of the whole Church would have been necessarily 
excluded. On the plan actually adopted, Christians in general have 
an opportunity of attaching themselves to the cause of Christianity 
throughout the world ; missionaries are the " messengers of the 
Churches ;" and every lover of Christ can assist in promoting the glory 
of his Lord in the heathen world, and shall share in the reward of 
bringing all nations to the obedience of faith. 

2. It is an authorized ministry. 

An " angel" is a messenger,; and a messenger must be sent. The 
command of the Lord is, " Go ye into all the world, and preach the 
Gospel to every creature." It is not to be questioned, then, that 
Christian ministers are sent to all the world. They are sometimes 
directed in regard to their respective fields of labour, by particular 
indications ; as St. Paul saw in a vision a man of Macedonia, who 
said, " Come over into Macedonia, and help us ;" and from this he 
" assuredly gathered," that the Lord called him to labour in that par- 
ticular country. But are ministers now sent to the heathen under 
the Divine direction ? Can this be doubted by any attentive observer ? 
See the remarkable openings into pagan nations ; the success which 
has already attended the ministry of the word in the dark parts of the 
earth ; success which could not have been achieved but under the im- 
mediate blessing of the God of all grace. But I want no other proof 
that God has raised up the men we send to evangelize the heathen. 
If the voice had said, " Whom shall we send ? and who will go for us ?" 
and none answered to the call, we might conclude that it was not our 
duty to attempt this great and most desirable work. But while the 
heathen are imploring instruction, and access to them is wonderfully 
provided, here are men duly qualified, whose hearts burn with the love 
of Christ, and of the souls which he has redeemed by his blood, who 
count not their own lives dear unto them, and who individually say 
to the Churches, " Here am I ; send me." 

3. It is an open and undisguised ministry. 

St. Paul gloried in using " great plainness of speech ;"' and in this 
he appears in striking contrast to the priests of heathenism, and the 
apostles of popery. The heathen had their mysteries, which were 
carefully concealed from the vulgar, and only disclosed to the initiated ; 
and in the dark ages of popery the Scriptures, and other means of 
rehgious knowledge, were carefully withheld from the people in general, 
and notions the most crude and groundless were inculcated as the sa- 
cred truths of Christianity. The reformation brought with it a flood 
of light ; and recognized the right of all men to read the oracles of God, 
and to judge of their meaning. " To the poor the Gospel is preached." 
in full accordance with the design of its Divine Author. What joyful 
tidings has the Gospel brought to you ! and what blessings has it been 
a means of imparting to you ! And the same will it be to the benighted 
2 



SERMON XCV.] THE MIDST OF HEAVEN. 263 

Hindoo and African. There is nothing in Christianity that requires 
concealment ; and Christ is set forth as the author of "salvation to the 
ends of the earth." 

4. It is a zealous and successful ministry. 

The attitude of " flying," in which the angel is placed before us in 
the text, denotes zeal and activity ; an eagerness to deliver the message, 
and to carry it into the remotest regions. And, thank God, we have 
such a ministry in progress. It has met with difficulties, and future 
difficulties await it ; yet it is pressing onward. Clouds and storms may 
meet the angel, but they cannot arrest his progress ; for his authority 
is Divine ; and the arm of the Lord will prepare his way. Such is 
the intensity of zeal which animates the true missionary, that oppo- 
sition only inspires new ardour, and prompts to more strenuous and 
determined efforts ; and-he considers that nothing is clone till the sound 
of salvation has reached the utmost parts of the earth. 

We proposed to consider, 

III. Its extensive commission. It is sent to " every nation, and 
kindred, and tongue, and people." 

On this subject several remarks suggest themselves. 

1. That the Gospel is equally needed by all nations* and equally 
adapted to all. 

Here I find a splendid proof of the Divinity of the Gospel. It assumes 
that men are every where guilty and depraved. But who could know 
this, except God himself? The earth was but partially known in the 
age of the apostles ; there were then extensive countries undiscovered ; 
and how could men, unless they were Divinely inspired, know the 
character and state of the people in those unknown regions, whose very 
existence would only be discovered in ages then remote 1 Who could 
draw a picture of man, which man in all ages and nations will recognize, 
but He that " knew what was in man ?" 

Again : men are not only diversified by national genius, but they also 
differ in regard to rank, and knowledge, and a thousand other circum- 
stances ; and who but God himself could form a system of religious 
instruction which should, in all ages and nations, and among all the 
different orders of mankind, be equally efficient 1 We have not in the 
Gospel one mode of treatment for Greeks, and another for barbarians. 
The salvation which it reveals is a " common salvation ;" and among 
those that have accepted it " there is neither Greek nor Jew, circum- 
cision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free ; but 
Christ is all, and in all," Col. iii, 11. 

2. That there is an essential difference between the Jewish and 
Christian dispensations. 

The Jewish dispensation was restricted to one nation and period ; 
the Christian dispensation is universal, embracing all the different tribes 
of men, and extending to the end of time. The Jewish dispensation 
acted on the defensive, especially against idolatry, and was intended 
specially to guard the Jewish people from that -terrible evil ; the Chris- 
tian dispensation is offensive, and assails, without compromise, every 
species of error and sin. It marches up to every fortress, and seizes 
every enemy ; nor will its efforts cease till the whole world shall vow 
allegiance to the Lord Christ, to whom the dominion of the world be- 
longs. The religion of Moses might be sought out, and its benefits 

2 



264 THE ANGEL FLYING THROUGH [SERMON XCV. 

enjoyed, by individuals belonging to heathen nations, who had the 
privilege of becoming proselytes, and attending its worship under cer- 
tain restrictions. Whereas Christianity goes forth, through all nations 
that she may seek and save the lost. 

3. The extensive commission recorded in the text is the foundation 
of universal philanthropy. 

Enmities and prejudices among mankind have been originated and 
cherished by the distinctions of sect and country, and by rival interests- 
but the Gospel overleaps all these distinctions, and exhibits mankind 
in the light of one vast brotherhood. God is the Father of all ; Christ 
is the Redeemer of all ; the Christian ministry is a ministry addressed 
to all ; and Christians regard themselves as the brethren of all. This 
character of our holy and benevolent religion is beautifully depicted in 
the parable of the good Samaritan, where a foreigner, whose very 
name was hateful to the Jews, and whose countrymen were regarded by 
that people with the deepest hostility, spontaneously ministered everv 
requisite relief to a Jew who had fallen among thieves, even when a 
priest and a Levite of his own nation " passed by on the other side," 
and left him to perish. " Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." 

4. It gives noble and expanded views to Christians. 

Study and understand your own religion. It is not one among many 
modifications of human opinion. It is from God ; and is intended by 
him, like Aaron's rod, to swallow up every other. In this respect a 
Christian is truly a party man. His religion will tolerate nothing that 
is opposed to it. He considers his King to be universal ; and his heart 
bounds at the thought that the Lord is wearing many crowns. The 
Church shall see all the crowns of the world surrendered to him, one 
by one, and will shout his growing triumphs. 

Christianity interests the heart in the greatest and most sublime 
struggles. It places its disciples on the hill of observation, and shows 
them the mighty conflict between truth and error, the armies of Christ, 
and the powers of darkness. And it invests them with an elevated 
character. It declares them to be " the light of the world ;" calls them 
to take a part in the holy strife ; and, in regard to their principles and 
aims, raises them inconceivably above the mere men of the world, 
whose views are confined within a narrow circle, and extend not beyond 
the present life. 

We proceed to consider, 

IV- The specific objects of the angel's ministry. 

The Scripture speaks of an interesting ministry as exercised by 
many angels ; and we accompany them with delight in their descent 
to this lower world. They delivered righteous Lot ; they struck the 
fatal blow at the Egyptian oppressor, and delivered Israel ; they spread 
the vision of the future before the beloved Daniel ; they cried, " Ba- 
bylon is fallen, is fallen ;" and they will be employed to bind the old 
serpent. But none of their ministries are so delightful as that which 
is assigned to the angel in the text. He is the animated symbol of the 
missionary ministry, passing from kingdom to kingdom, inculcating the 
fear of God, setting up his worship, and making all things yield their 
revenue of glory to him. Hear his message : " Fear God ; give glory 
to him ; and. worship him that made the heavens, and the earth, and 
the sea, and the fountains of waters." Consider these animating topics, 
2 



SEKMON XCV.] THE MIDST OF HEAVEN. 265 

and glow with ardour while you recollect that the angels you have 
sent forth are producing all these important effects in the different na- 
tions of the earth. 

1. The angel cries out, "Fear him." 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom ; the source and 
guard of virtue. But the heathen are without it. They have religious 
fear, but not the fear of God. Theirs is the fear of imaginary deities, 
objects of terror ; and it darkens and overwhelms the mind. This is 
not the fear of God. He is indeed greater and more terrible than they 
all are. They are local ; he is every where. From the wrath of one, 
they may fly to the succour of another ; but none can take the guilty 
out of his hands. What, indeed, is their power in comparison with 
his 1 See him in his might of wrath, overwhelming the world with a 
flood ; smiting Egypt with tremendous plagues ; by an angel destroying 
the host of Sennacherib ; hissing for his armies to destroy the holy city ; 
and in the terrible scenes of this book. Why, then, is the fear of God 
a more mitigated principle than the fear of idol deities ? Because, 
amidst all this dim and lowering brightness of wrath, there are circum- 
fused the mild and lovely splendours of his mercy. " Fear him that 
made the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the fountains of wa- 
ters." Visible nature is full of his goodness ; but his glory is espe- 
cially seen in the face of Jesus Christ. In the economy of redemp- 
tion and salvation he descends, and proclaims his name, " The Lord, 
the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in 
goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity 
and transgression and sin," Exod. xxxiv, 6, 7. 

The fear of God is a mixture of awe and love. " We love him be- 
cause he first loved us ;" and having given his Son to die for our sins, 
and justified us through his blood, has sent into our hearts the Spirit 
of his Son, crying Abba, Father. Happy state of man, reconciled to 
God by the death of Christ, standing in a filial relation to the Lord 
of heaven and earth, and bowing with silent awe before him whom 
the cherubim and seraphim adore ! And happy, too, is he who dis- 
perses the gloom of a pagan mind, and leads the wretched wanderer 
to God in Christ. Him he now regards as great and holy ; yet as his 
Father and his Friend. 

2. To establish his worship. 

This is another effect of the promulgation of the Gospel. How 
interesting is a Christian Sabbath ! Business is suspended ; a solemn 
stillness pervades even the crowded city ; families are moving with 
willing steps to the house of prayer ; a spiritual ministry of the word 
is blessed to th« conviction of the formalist and the sinner, and to 
the comfort and edification of believers ; while those who have tasted 
that the Lord is gracious, in more private circles, enjoy the commu- 
nion of saints, and build up each other in faith and love. What a 
contrast to the guilt, the pollution, the wretchedness, the insane levity 
ot heathenism ! 

Behold, then, another great end of the missionary ministry : instead 
ot idols, to place the true God in his temples. Instead of polluting 
orgies, to teach men to wash their hands in innocency, and thus to 
encompass God s altar. Instead of indulging malignant passions, to 
bow at the foot of the Christian altar, to lay aside all malice ; knowing 

2 



266 THE ANGEL FLYING, ETC. [SERMON XCV. 

that if they forgive not men their trespasses, neither will their heavenly- 
Father forgive them. Instead of vain mediators, to have the name of 
Jesus in which to trust. Instead of vain prayers, crying, " O Baal, 
hear us ;" and waiting from noon to night without receiving any an- 
swer, hearing neither voice nor sound ; to obtain direct access to God 
through the Son of his love, and be able to say, " Blessed be God, 
who hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me !" In- 
stead of being left to themselves in sorrow and weakness, to " come to 
the throne of grace," and " obtain mercy, and grace to help in time of 
need." Instead of the worship which pollutes, so that the altar is the 
most detestable place that can be approached, to substitute a worship 
which calls all the powers of the soul into exercise, and prepares it for 
the loftier worship of heaven. Effects of this nature have already 
been produced among the pagan slaves of the West Indies, the Hotten- 
tots, and even in the jungles of India. 

3. To claim for God his revenue of praise and glory 
Nothing glorifies God in the heathen world. The glory due to his 
name is given to vain idols, the work of men's hands. The idea of glo- 
rifying God never enters the mind of a heathen, even in those exercises 
which he deems religious. Songs are heard in pagan lands, but not 
songs of praise to God, the Giver of all good. 

But when the commission of the angel is accomplished, how different 
will be the scene ! God will then be glorified in the mighty moral 
change which will be presented in a regenerated world. He will be 
glorified in the exaltation of Christ ; in the dispensations of Providence, 
connected with the spread of his truth, and the conversion of the na- 
tions ; in all the works of nature. He will be seen in all ; in every 
star that shines ; in every shower that descends ; in every plant that 
grows ; and in all the objects with which his human worshippers are 
surrounded. The mighty plan of grace and mercy is advancing, bring- 
ing new glory to God in the highest, till all is accomplished, so as to 
inspire both men and angels with eternal admiration and love. 

1. Behold, then, a glorious object of contemplation, — the progress 
of the angel in the midst of heaven. 

This is an object on which you should fix your constant gaze. The 
honour of God, and the endless happiness of millions of redeemed souls, 
are dependent upon his flight. 

2. It depends on you to speed or delay the angel. 

Some who are going on in noble flight have been sent forth by 
your liberality. Your prayers and efforts will this day give additional 
vigour to their pinions. Others are waiting to commence their course ; 
and they wait to receive the impulse from you. 

3. Let it not discourage us, that the world may be tossed and 
troubled. 

This "angel" cries that the hour of God's judgments is come; and 
yet he holds on his course. God clears the way in judgment ; and 
his Gospel follows after. He ploughs up the furrow ; and the seed 
of evangelical truth is cast into the earth. " He hath promised sav- 
ing, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And 
this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that 
are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which can- 
not be shaken may remain." 
2 



SERMON XCVI.] THE CHERUBIM AND MERCY SEAT. 267 



Sermon XCVI.— The Cherubim and the Mercy Seat. 



« And over it the cherubims of glory, shadowing the mercy seat," Heb. ix, 5. 
« God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time 
past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken 
unto us by his Son." The superiority of our privilege is undoubted 
and incalculable ; but we have not thereby lost our interest in that 
wondrous mode of teaching vouchsafed to the ancient Church, in those 
" divers manners" in which God chose to adumbrate or reveal the pro- 
mised salvation. The great plan of redeeming mercy was formed in 
the mind of God in eternity; there infinite wisdom arranged, and in- 
finite love cherished it ; the world was framed for its manifestation, 
but the times and seasons were reserved by the Father in his own 
power. But though it was prepared when man fell, it was not then 
fully announced. It is not for us to ask why ; it is enough for us to 
know that, " in the fulness of time," in its maturity and ripeness, at 
the very best possible period, " God sent forth his Son, made of a wo- 
man, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, 
that we might receive the adoption of sons." In the mean time typi- 
cal sacrifices bled, typical saviours rescued the Church, typical priests 
interceded, typical kings swayed sceptres of righteousness, and a suc- 
cession of prophets struck the lyre of sacred song with inspired im- 
pulses, hvmning the future advent of the great Salvation himself, his 
sacrificial death, and reign of righteousness and love : thus was the 
attention of men kept up till Christ himself appeared, and all the types 
were fulfilled in him. 

This typical system the apostle describes in this epistle by two 
very expressive terms, " patterns," and " shadows." " Patterns," the 
mere outlines, unfilled up with light and shade, and colour, but still 
presenting a tracery accurate and instructive : " shadows," which rep- 
resented the general form, but not its separate and particular features, 
not its spirit and life. Patterns and shadows of heavenly things, that 
is, of things in the heavens ; not of things in the heavens then when 
the patterns were drawn, the shadows projected, but of things in the 
heavens when St. Paul wrote. And they are heavenly, not only be- 
cause of their origin, — for their great author is not of the earth, earthy, 
but the Lord from heaven, — but principally because that scene which 
the tabernacle of old typified is now realized in heaven : there is the 
true tabernacle, there the real throne of grace, there the great High 
Priest, and there the glory. 

Behold, then, the reciprocal uses and relations of the law and the 
Gospel : by these types the expectation of good men was awakened, 
their faith upheld and maintained, and their desires thrown forward to 
future ages, when the better things for which they hoped should be 
made manifest. with what intensity were they often studied ! " Open 
thou mine eyes, that.-I may behold wondrous things out of thy law :" 
" One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after ; that I 
may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold 
the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple." Thus were 

2 



268 THE CHERUBIM AND MERCY SEAT. [SERMON XCV1. 

they " searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ 
which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the suffer- 
ings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." The law has now 
fulfilled its glorious course, but it still remains to instruct us ; we see 
it under a stronger light, and the key of its mysteries is put into our 
hands ; under our eye the outline, the pattern, is filled up, the shadow 
brightens into the vivid representation of the great substance, and all 
is evangelical beauty and glory : led by the hand of our Divine In- 
structer, the great High Priest himself, we survey the furniture of the 
old temple ; and, while we tread its hallowed courts, and gaze upon the 
ancient symbols of himself, with which even the earthly sanctuary was 
filled, exclaim, as though standing in the excellent glory, " Master, it 
is good for us to be here." 

In the text the apostle calls our attention to one of these typical 
subjects ; to one of the most sacred of them, and the most compre- 
hensive in its typical character ; to one which most directly leads us 
to the passion, and death, and glory, of our Redeemer. Let us, then, 
turn aside with reverence and love united, to see this great sight ; and 
may the instruction it conveys be sealed by the teaching Spirit on every 
heart. 

The apostle is speaking of the tabernacle which was after the second 
veil, and which was called "the holiest of all:" this had "the golden 
censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, 
wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that 
budded, and the tables of the covenant ; and over it the cherubims of 
glory shadowing the mercy seat." 

When we turn our attention to this sacred symbol, we observe sev- 
eral things brought together, in one grand evangelical type, and pre- 
sented before us. You recollect the structure of the ark : it was a 
chest which contained the tables of the law ; over this was placed the 
lid, or covering, which was the propitiatory, or mercy seat ; over all. 
there were sculptured representations of the cherubim, — themselves 
representations of the angelic host, — shadowing the mercy seat with 
their wings ; and between the wings of the cherubim there was the 
bright cloud of the Divine presence, the visible glory of the Lord. 
Now, surely there was some design in bringing together all these dif- 
ferent objects into one great symbol or type ;— the tables of the law, the 
covering of the mercy seat, the representation of the cherubim, and the 
glory of God, the cloud of the Divine presence, surmounting them. 
Brethren, they teach us that between these things, in consequence of 
the evangelical dispensation, there are most interesting relations ; that 
between these things there is a harmony in which all are engaged : in 
other words, that between law and grace ; between the administration 
of grace to man and the heavenly world ; and between the whole ot 
this dispensation and arrangement, and the glorious, manifested pre- 
sence of Jehovah, there is a close and interesting connection. Inese 
are the points on which I shall endeavour to fix your attention. 

I. In the first place, we are taught by this sacred symbol, an ark 

thus constructed and accompanied, that there is now, under the evan- 

gelical dispensation, a relation between law and grace. . , 

We learn from 1 Kings viii, 9, that, "there was nothing in the ark 

save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when 



SEKMON XCVI.] THE CHEBUBIM AND MERCY SEAT. 269 

the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel ;" so that Aaron's 
rod and the manna were in the holiest place, but not in the ark. These 
tables of stone were written with the finger of God, and laid up in the 
ark as a testimony, as a perpetual witness between himself and the 
people. But why are they here where every thing speaks of grace ? 
Why are the tables of the law, which were " a witness against" the 
people, Deut. xxxi, 26, placed in the sanctuary where every thing 
spake of mercy ; the court where the blood of atonement was present- 
ed, and pardons dispensed ; in the very place which seemed to be con- 
secrated to the forgiveness of sins, and the disclosure of the gracious 
designs of God as Redeemer ? Brethren, this question may be easily 
answered. 

1. The law was there, in the first place, because it is eternal, and 
must therefore harmonize with every dispensation of religion to man. 

The whole Gospel is founded upon the eternity of the law ; for if 
its authority did not continue, we could not sin against it, and should 
therefore need no mercy : the very nature of the law bears with it 
internal evidence that it must endure for ever. The tables of stone 
contained the ten commandments ; and our Lord tells us that in the 
summary of them is contained the great one of love : " Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all 
thy mind ; and thy neighbour as thyself." To the law, then, you can 
object nothing ; it is holy, and just, and good ; it connects the creature 
with God, and renders obedience delightful, by making it the effect of 
love ; it connects the creature with the creature, and binds them with 
a golden chain into a happy family, from which had sin never entered 
the world, all wrongs would be unknown, and where evil affections 
could have found no place. A wise, a holy, a just, a benevolent Go- 
vernor could have willed no less ; and so long as his government con- 
tinues, so long must the law of love remain : less, therefore, would not 
be for the honour of God ; less would be for the misery, not for the 
happiness of the creature. This, therefore,— that all creatures should 
love himself, and each other for his sake,— is God's standing will as 
to angels and men : this was the law of Eden, this was the law of 
Moses, and this great principle is taken up into the Christian dispen- 
sation. Wherever, then, you look for the Gospel you will find the 
law ; you go to the ark of the covenant, and the commands of God 
written on imperishable tables, are there ; and when the redeemed 
shall have themselves passed within the veil, whither their Forerun- 
ner is for them entered, there, too, in the holiest of all, shall they find 
the same law, and observe it perfectly and for ever. 

PV 'L7v e , tables °f the law are ^ere in the ark, and connected with 
evangelical symbols representing the dispensation of mercy to man- 
kind, because it was the violation of the law by which the dispensa 
tion of mercy was rendered necessary. aispensa- 

What was the characteristic of the administration of the sanctuary ? 

h?mself tas krt 1 ^ 100 ^f^ SaCrifice and a mediator 7an 
nimselt was kept from ^mediate approach to God • the Driest ore 

Krttft thG / rieSt Pr ° n0UnCed th " blSng P of" 
a ^ altar whv '„ X ^T *"" *" this a PP aratus ™»» ' Why 

remind us 5f a t tCf"? 1 ** \™™Y «at ? All are intended to 
renund us that the law has been broken, and that arrangements of 

2 



270 THE CHERUBIM AND MEECY SEAT. [SERMON XCVI. 

mercy are demanded by the sin and danger of man. The simple prin- 
ciple of a covenant of mere law is, " This do, and thou shalt live :" 
" The man that doeth these things shall live by them." If man had 
never sinned, there would have been no need of sacrifice, no need of 
mediation ; the very existence of such a gracious administration proves 
that law has been violated, and that man is a sinner. While you are 
obedient to the laws of your country, you suffer no restraint, no punish- 
ment from them ; you need not petition the king, employ interest, look 
out for a reprieve ; all these acts suppose that a capital offence has 
been committed. So the very Gospel implies our guilt : had you not 
been under sentence of death, Christ need not have died, the just for 
the unjust, to bring you to God. The ark of mercy has always within 
it a broken law to witness against you, nor can you come to the mercy 
seat without coming to the law. This, indeed, is the first thing we 
have to learn : we have sinned, we have broken every commandment, 
we have come under the curse, and the tables are put into the ark to 
teach us, that if they were not there, we could expect nothing but the 
law's malediction, and the execution of its sentence. Till you learn 
this lesson you are only as the Pharisee, commending himself, and 
condemned by his Judge ; but when you have learned it, acknowledg- 
ing your misery, helplessness, and guilt, you cry with the publican, 
" God be merciful to me a sinner." 

3. But we see the tables of the law thus connected with evangelical 
symbols, to intimate to us another truth, that the grand end of the ad- 
ministration of grace to man is the re-establishment of the law's domi- 
nion over him. 

It is true that the penalty of law is an evil from which man must be 
freed, or he must perish ; but the dominion of law is no evil, and the 
re-establishment of it is the completion of the grace of Christ in restor- 
ing man to his proper happiness. I appeal to you whether it must not 
be so, and whether the Gospel would not be an imperfect system did 
it only propose to relieve us from the guilt and penalty of sin. Could 
you assure me that for every sin I should be exempt from punishment, 
and thus remove the gloom of apprehension from futurity, yet would 
that be enough ? If there were no healing for the wounded spirit, no 
regeneration, no principle of holiness, to be planted in the heart, and 
brought to perfection by Divine power, to influence the whole conduct 
and character of men for ever, could any of us be satisfied with it ? 
Would not even a generous nature, if saved from the fear of the con- 
sequences of sin, say, " Why, I owe all to God, who gave his Son to 
deliver me from eternal wrath, and to place me in circumstances of 
eternal felicity ; but shall I never love this God, my Deliverer, with 
all my heart, and mind, and soul, and strength ? Shall I enjoy an eter- 
nity of blessings from him, and yet have my heart in a state of eternal 
estrangement and opposition 1 Shall I never be put into a condition to 
love my neighbour saint and my neighbour angel as myself, but must 
I be eternally in a spirit of anger, hatred, and uncharitableness ? O 
no, brethren : the grand end of this dispesnation is certainly, in the 
first instance, to deliver us from the guilt and penalty of sin ; and then, 
in the next place, by the almighty grace of Christ, to implant within 
us principles which the influences of the Spirit shall carry on to ma- 
turity, that we may be filled with all the fruits of righteousness lor 
2 



SERMON XCTI.J THE CHERUBIM AND MEKCY SEAT. 271 

ever. We come not to a lawless mercy seat ; " for what the law could 
not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son 
in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh ; 
that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not 
after the flesh, but after the Spirit ;" that so " grace might reign through 
righteousness unto eternal life," and Christ present to the Father " a 
glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but 
being holy and without blemish." 

4. But this connection between the law and the mercy seat indi- 
cates, finally, that the administration of grace is in every part consist- 
ent with law. 

This leads us to what many consider as the glorious peculiarity of 
the mercy seat. The mercy seat is what the apostle calls elsewhere 
" the throne of grace." The ark of the covenant, as we have said, 
was a chest in which were placed the tables of the law, and over 
this was placed the propitiatory or mercy seat. This was sprink- 
led with the blood of the sacrifices, the cloud of the Divine pre- 
sence rested upon it, and the whole of it formed God's throne of 
grace. And then observe, it was God's throne of grace founded upon 
law. Intercessions were made before it, pardons were dispensed from 
it ; but the ark which supported the mercy seat contained the tables 
of the law, to show us that grace itself is administered in consistency 
with law. That the forgiveness of sin exhibits the mercy of God, the 
wisdom of the world could discover. Even the Socinian scheme could 
show us that. But that is not all. Is it just and right ? There are 
persons who tell us they reject the doctrine of the atonement, because 
they think that a Being of infinite goodness has a right to forgive as 
and whom he pleases. But we are met here by another considera- 
tion, — that this Being who is infinite goodness, is not less infinite jus- 
tice. And here comes the difficulty. It is nothing to say that God is 
good, and that therefore he may forgive ; for God is just and holy, and 
therefore how can he forgive? Brethren, the Gospel answers the 
question. We find that, though God is righteous, yet that he can for- 
give ; that he can be a just God and a Saviour. The very symbol on 
which I am discoursing indicates this. The tables of the law were, 
indeed, covered by the mercy seat ; but the mercy seat was sprinkled 
with the blood of atonement. You recollect the apostle's argument, in 
the Epistle to the Romans, where he tells us that the death of Christ 
was a declaration of the righteousness of God for the forgiveness of 
sins. And here is the commentary. The mercy seat was sprinkled 
with blood ; not the blood of bulls or goats, for these could not take 
away sin, because, in the very nature of things, there could be in them 
no declaration of the righteousness of God ; and when they were em- 
ployed it was only typically, and till the substance should come;— 
nor with the blood of the sinner, for thus he could not have found mercy. 
What, then, was the blood? It was typical blood under the law. But 
what is the real blood with which it was sprinkled under the Gospel? 
ihe blood of Christ. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, 
who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, 
purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" 
He bare our sins," says Peter, " in his own body on the tree!" « He 
was wounded, said Isaiah, "for our transgressions ; he was bruised 

2 



272 THE CHERUBIM AND MERCY SEAT. [SERMON XCVI. 

for our iniquities ; the chastisement of our peace was upon him." Upon 
whom ? Upon God's eternal Son, who for us men and our salvation 
came down from heaven ; so that the very relation to God, and the 
consequent dignity and worth of the sacrifice, become a manifest decla- 
ration of God's justice in the forgiveness of sins. Thus we see how 
the great problem of connecting the maintenance of justice with the 
exercise of mercy ; of forgiving sins, while the righteousness of the 
law is preserved, and the moral government of God is unrelaxed, has 
been solved. "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation." God 
governs us from the mercy seat, and therefore is his government a 
government of grace ; but we likewise see all the great ends of right- 
eous government manifested and secured by it. Such a government 
must maintain the righteous character of the Governor ; his hatred of 
sin, and his determination to punish it : it must be one that powerfully 
deters from offences, and one that fully upholds the authority of law. 
'•Wherever these three principles unite, — that the righteous character 
of the Governor is upheld ; that men are deterred from offences ; that 
the authority of the law is maintained, and its purity and excellence 
declared, — there is a righteous government ; and such is the govern- 
ment of God, even while he is abundant in mercy, waiteth to be gra- 
cious, and is ever ready to forgive. Who can doubt the awful right- 
eousness of his character, when he is seen laying the penalty of sin 
on his well-beloved Son 1 Who can take any liberty to sin under a 
government which holds him condemned already who has not fled for 
mercy to the appointed refuge ? And who sees not that all the autho- 
rity of the law is upheld, when the great end of the dispensation of 
grace is, first, to rescue man from its curse, in a way honouring the 
Divine truth and love ; and then, to renew his moral nature, and put 
him in a condition to obey the law with holy delight from a perfect 
love to God, to all eternity. 

II. But there was not only a connection between the tables of the 
law and the mercy seat, but over this mercy seat the cherubims of 
glory were placed. We are therefore instructed in the fact, that there 
is a harmonious relation between the dispensation of grace to man, 
and the heavenly world. 

Cherubims are placed before us in Scripture under two views. First, 
they are presented to us as the ministers of the Divine vengeance. 
Thus, when man was expelled from paradise, cherubim and a naming 
sword were placed at the east end of the garden of Eden, to keep the 
way of the tree of life ; the sword turning every way, and thus forbid- 
ding all access, and intimating to man that life was no longer to be 
obtained through the old and broken covenant. But in the tabernacle 
they appear under other and very different aspects. There were figures 
of cherubim embroidered on the ark ; and there were figures of cheru- 
bim carved, and placed on the covering of the mercy seat. In neither 
case was there a flaming sword ; in neither case did they appear to be 
the messengers of God's vengeance ; but, on the contrary, from the very 
position in which they were placed, hiding the ark with their wings, 
" shadowing the mercy seat," bending, as if looking down upon it, they 
are represented as interested spectators of the administration of the 
grace of God to men, through the atonement and sacrifice of the Saviour. 
1. We may, therefore, observe with respect to the angelic powers 
2 



SERMON XCVI.] THE CHERUBIM AND MERCY SEAT. 273 

of whom the cherubim were the emblems, that they have an intellectual 
interest in this great subject. . 

They are of a superior order. The very forms under which they 
epresented, and which were the symbols of intelligence, strength, 



are r< 



courage, and activity, indicate thus much. But here they are brought 
before° us as fixing their intent gaze upon the ark of the covenant. 
Peter is supposed to refer to this bending attitude when he says, 
« Which things the angels desire to look into." What things ? The 
things represented by the union of the broken tables of the law, with 
the propitiatory covering of the ark ; the approach of guilty man to God, 
to God sitting on his throne of grace, where he obtains mercy, and finds 
grace to help him in time of need. These are the things into which 
they desire to look. They are great in intellect, no doubt, as they 
excel in strength. Over the vast fields of science they travel with 
ease, where man proceeds with so much difficulty. To them the spaces 
of all nature are open ; they can wing their way from world to world, 
and sweep over the grandeur of creation. They may be permitted to 
watch the changing scenes of earth, and to mark the entire progress 
of that vast scheme of providence, " a part, a little part, alone" of which 
" we scan." But over whatever other sights their view ranges, there 
is one that fixes their gaze. They fly through the earth, but they rest 
in the sanctuary. Here they stay their flight, and, with adoring reve- 
rence, look into those very peculiarities of the Gospel which to worldly 
wisdom are foolishness. They look to the broken law covered by the 
mercy seat sprinkled with blood, the reconciliation of man to God by 
the death of Christ. This is that manifold wisdom of God, — wisdom 
developing so many views of the Divine character, — which by the 
Church is made known to them. And they are right. From this point 
rays of light spring forth, spreading illumination, and revealing, or 
casting clearer light upon, all subjects that are brought within their 
influence. And yet, brethren, they have no direct interest in the subject. 
They are not fallen creatures ; they need no redemption. Let this 
reprove any of us who, though so deeply interested in these things, 
have hitherto neglected them. Remember that this is no vain thing ; 
it is your life. You seldom read of these subjects, you seldom medi- 
tate on them, you can spare no time to them, you can devote to them 
no strength ; and yet your salvation is bound up in them. And let this 
especially reprove the pretended wise men of this world, who turn to 
ridicule, and treat with contempt, the great doctrine of redemption by 
the incarnation and atonement of Christ. To the Greeks of our own 
day, as to the Greeks of the apostle's time, all this is foolishness. But 
lit it be observed, that this is especially that part of the Gospelinto 
which the cherubim are continually looking. They are looking at man 
corning up to the throne of grace, laden with his sins, smiting on his 
breast, imploring mercy through the Crucified, and bearing away from 
the throne of mercy the peace and blessing of his reconciled God. 
The true wisdom of the Gospel, the very depths of its wisdom, are 
found here. This great doctrine is the key to every other doctrine of 
the Gospel, as that is the key to all the dispensations of God, whether 
of providence or of grace. 

2. But we may go farther, and say, that we have evidence from 
Scripture, that the connection of the angelic world with the Christian 

Vol. II. 18 



274 THE CHERUBIM AND MERCY SEAT. [SERMON XCV1. 

system is not one of mere intellectual curiosity and gratification, but 
likewise of large and important moral benefit. 

I think we may fairly infer this from a passage in the epistle to the 
Ephesians : " To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers 
in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom 
of God," Eph. iii, 10. "To the intent," the apostle says. In the 
administration of grace to man, there is thus a collateral reference to 
angels ; and the knowledge they thus acquire is of all others most cal- 
culated to minister to their holiness. That they need no redemption, 
we know ; for they have not fallen. It is not, therefore, in the way 
of direct redemption that this moral benefit flows to them. But I think 
it is easy to see that if to any being already pure, brighter views of 
God, more important degrees of moral knowledge, be communicated, 
such communication of knowledge must always be the instrument of an 
increase both of holiness and felicity. And I think it is as easy to 
show that there must necessarily be great subjects with which the 
angels must become better acquainted than they ever could have been, 
but for the occurrences and history of our redemption. It is very true, 
that, when they saw their fellows who had sinned cast down from God 
and heaven, they had a fearful exhibition of the evil of sin ; but we 
know they were permitted to approach to the awful mysteries of the 
garden and the cross ; and by the sufferings of the great victim who 
suffered and died, that he might put away sin by the sacrifice of him- 
self, still more impressive discoveries of its evil and bitterness would 
be made to them. They had seen bright and vast displays of the 
exuberant goodness of God ; but they had never seen love so realized, 
so embodied, as in the gift of the Son of God for the salvation of man ; 
as when they saw the great Shepherd following the lost sheep into the 
wilderness to seek and save them ; as when they saw love teaching, 
\&ve travelling, love suffering, love agonizing, love dying, that man might 
not perish. They must have been very deeply impressed with a sense 
of God's power, when they witnessed the wonders of creation ; when 
nothing heard the voice of God, and was substantiated into this goodly 
creation ; and when earth appeared in all its loveliness and perfection, 
and its Maker pronounced it very good. But here there was nothing 
to resist ; all was passive in his hands. Angels have now seen the 
wonders of the new creation, and in them more marvellous proofs of 
the Divine power. They have seen bad principles subdued and era- 
dicated, alien and resisting hearts won back to God, and sin and un- 
cleanness washed away in the fountain opened on the cross. The 
virtues which compose holiness they had seen in each other ; and they 
might know more in the abstract ; but these were rays of brightness in 
the very element of light : but by the power of grace in man they have 
seen virtues exhibited and maintained in this corrupt world, as beams 
of light shining in a dark place. Virtues they have seen in action 
which otherwise they could only have contemplated in the abstract. 
Yes ; through that victorious grace, they have seen men fighting against 
their own nature, and subduing it ; bearing up against the pressure of 
daily temptation ; forgiving injuries ; sustaining afflictions with patience: 
they have seen the prisoners for Christ's sake rejoicing in their bonds, 
and singing, at midnight, the praises of God : they have witnessed the 
meekness oT the martyr, as he prayed for his murderers ; they have 
2 



•EMONXCVI.] THE CHEEUBIM AND MERCY SEAT. ~"> 

admired his constancy in torments, and the cheerfulness and triumph 
S which he has welcomed the cross of Christ : and they have 
glorified God, whose power has rendered creatures so fallen capable 
of virtues so high and glorious. •* • +u„ 

It appears exceedingly probable that angels are witnessing the 
whole history of this world ; and that, with reference to their continual 
instruction. There has been a grand struggle between light and dark- 
ness, truth and error, going on from the beginning of time to the present 
hour, most instructive even to angels. There was a struggle in the 
case of the angels who kept not their first estate ; and those who did 
keep it, and thus remained faithful, were witnesses of it. But that 
struo-gle, I suppose, was very short. The tale might soon be told. 
For,° though we mav take our poetry from Milton, yet we are not to 
take our theology from him. We are not to think there was a great 
war in heaven ; a long contest between light and darkness. Where 
there is no dispensation of grace, sin is immediately followed by 
punishment ; long suffering belongs not to law. " In the day thou eatest 
thereof thou shalt surely die ;" and that sentence would have been 
executed but for the covenant of mercy which comes in as to man. 
But no doubt, as to angels,*they found that the day in which they 
sinned brought the stroke of Divine vengeance, and they at once sank 
into the abodes of darkness. The struggle was short, and the lesson 
soon comprehended. But on earth the struggle is permitted still to 
continue. And while it goes on, how many important principles are 
established ! how many great truths are receiving fresh evidence every 
century, every year ! how many falsehoods are detected ! how many 
errors dispersed ! Who does not see that the whole history of the 
world goes to the establishment of two points, — the folly as well as 
the wickedness of rebellion against God, and the wisdom as well as 
piety of holy submission to him 1 that, in fact, his service is perfect 
freedom, and the interest and duty of his creatures are coincident? 
And as perhaps there is no creature who can so strongly perceive the 
force of truth, merely regarded in the abstract, as when it is exhibited 
in action, when presented by experience in the light of actual history : 
probably angels themselves feel all these truths the more forcibly in 
consequence of seeing them in action, and in their practical results on 
the grand theatre of this world. We ourselves may learn something 
from the awful contest, if we watch it faithfully, standing fast in tho 
light and power of the Lord ; but our faculties are too weak, our range 
of view too limited, our opportunities of observation too few and brief, 
to permit us to study the lessons presented as they are studied by tho 
cherubim. When we join their assembly we shall share in their ad- 
vantages. But they, doubtless, watch the progress of the contest with 
interest. Now the plans of Providence seem involved in perplexity, 
and now the clouds break, and floods of light are poured upon tho 
scene : and still they gaze as the scheme is gradually and clearly de- 
veloped, and the catastrophe approaches. What will be their final song, 
their crowning hallelujah, that the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth, but 
the burst of that long-repressed and high-wrought feeling which has 
swelled and struggled even in the vast minds of the cherubim them- 
selves? Wiser, and holier, and safer, must angels part from the scene 
when the final consummation shall arrive ; and the knowledge they have 

2 



276 THE CHEKUBIM AND MERCY SEAT. [SERMON - XCVI. 

obtained be found to be a knowledge which shall to all eternity con- 
tribute to the happiness of their being. 

3. But there is another view in which we may regard the connection 
between the angelic world and the Church : they are angels and mi- 
nisters ; ministers to the Church, and ministers to individuals. 

Though, indeed, we know not in what particulars, or in what modes, 
they are .thus ministers, yet it is a delightful doctrine. It seems to be 
comprehended in that saying of Paul, that all things are reconciled, and 
made one in Christ. We have said that the cherubim are represented 
as the ministers of God's vengeance, and as turning their flaming sword 
in the east gate of the garden of Eden against guilty man ; but in grace, 
the sword is quenched, and we see them only as ministers to them who 
shall be heirs of salvation. It is delightful to feel the communion of 
saints on earth. It is still more delightful to feel the benefits of a dis- 
pensation which embraces all the saints, as well those of our own im- 
mediate and personal acquaintance, as all who love our Lord Jesus in 
every part of the earth. It heightens this idea when we can connect 
the Church below with the Church above, and recollect that to us all, 
as the apostle tells us, there is one God and Father of all. He is the 
Lord of hosts. He has a host in the innumerable company of angels. 
He has a host in the company of redeemed men. Part of that host 
have crossed the flood, and part are crossing now, and part are travelling 
through the wilderness ; but they are one sacramental host, one Israel 
of God ; and they are going up by their companies from strength to 
strength, till they all appear before God in Zion. And this feeling of 
union with the saints glorified, — not only with those whom we have 
loved on earth, and whose triumph over death we have witnessed, but 
with all who have ever passed from this world, — I say, this feeling and 
thought are heightened when we connect them with the angels of God. 
There they are one with the saints, all one in Christ, all gathered up 
in him as the Head : so that in heaven we have nothing but friends. 
The holy places are reconciled. That is a very striking part of the 
Mosaic economy where there was atonement made for the holy place ; 
and the holy place and the worshippers were to be reconciled, as well 
as the God they worshipped and the worshippers. The holy place 
was to be reconciled, to show that there is a repulsion between heaven 
and sinners, between angels and sinners, the removal of which is an 
effect of the death of Christ, reconciling all. So that, when we are 
disembodied, and leave this world, and go into another, we go into a 
friendly heaven, and find there our family and our home. 

And then there is their ministry as to individuals. I have said we 
know not how they minister ; yet it is a delightful thought, that we 
may be, personally, the subjects of their care. We ought always to 
recollect, indeed, that it is our first and most glorious privilege to be 
under the influences of God the Spirit ; and yet he may occasionally 
make use of angelic as well as human agency, to accomplish his pur- 
poses of grace. There may be something in what Bishop Kenn says 

" Let thy bless'd angels, while I sleep, 
Around my bed their vigils keep." 

God himself is the friend of those who are reconciled to him through 
Jesus Christ ; and all his agents, whether angels or men, are ministers 
2 



SERMON XCVI.] THE CHERUBIM AND MERCY SEAT. 277 

to do them good. " All things work together for good to them that 

III. Finally, there was the presence of God crowning the whole. 

In the sanctuary you have not only the ark of the covenant, the 
tables of the law, the mercy seat, and the cherubim shadowing it, but 
the visible symbol of the Divine presence. God was there. And thus 
are we shown that all things are of him, and by him, and for him. 
The tables of the law declare his will ; the covenant sprang from his 
everlasting wisdom and love ; the mercy seat was his throne ; the 
cherubim were his servants ; the holiest of all was his "resting place," 
2 Chron. vi, 41. The people came to worship him, and were dismissed 
with his blessing. As creation itself is from the will of God, so is re- 
demption. All is the result of his benevolence. The whole plan of 
mercy sprang from the depths of his eternal love, and all its arrange- 
ments were fixed according to the treasures of his own knowledge and 
wisdom. " All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself 
by Jesus Christ." 

This indicates, too, the necessity of Divine agency. As he origi- 
nated the whole scheme of redemption, so must he be present with it 
to give it power and efficacy. This was felt under the law. The 
psalmist prayed, "Give ear, Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest 
Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine 
forth, stir up thy strength, and save us." It is only when he has 
" arisen into his rest, he and the ark of his strength," that " his priests 
are clothed with salvation, and his saints shout aloud for joy." The 
whole practical part of Christianity, if I may so speak, is imperfect, 
but as God is present with it. Though the atonement has been made ; 
though a perfect revelation has been given ; though the Sabbaths and 
ordinances of God have been established ; yet, as the most beautiful 
arrangements of the temple would have been insufficient without the 
cloud of the Divine presence, so, unless God be especially present, 
even with Christianity, it cannot profit. If there be light in the soul, 
it is because " God that caused the light to shine out of darkness hath 
shined into the heart." Is there repentance ? " God hath granted 
repentance unto life." Is there pardon? The court is held, the con- 
fession is received, the pleading of the Advocate is admitted, and the 
absolving sentence is passed by God himself. " It is God that justi- 
fied." And if the heart has peace, it is because the love of God is 
shed abroad there by the Holy Ghost. Are we new creatures ? It is 
because " we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good 
works." 

The whole points out the everlasting presence of God with his 
Church. « Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion ; for great is 
the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." " For the Lord hath 
chosen Zion ; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest 
for ever : here will I dwell ; for I have desired it." All blessings 
come from this : « I will abundantly bless her provision ; I will satisfy 
her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation ; 
and her saints shall shout aloud for joy." And this is the joyful hope 
ot the people of God, that ere long they shall be "absent from the 
body, and present with the Lord." They dwell already in the outer 
courts; but they are waiting till they shall be permitted to pass 

2 



278 



CHRIST THE WISDOM OF BELIEVERS. [SERMON XCVII. 



"within the vail, whither the Forerunner is for them entered." 

There God himself shall be with them, and be their God for ever 
and ever. 



Sermon XCVII.— Christ the Wisdom of Believers. 



" But of him are ye in Christ Josus, who of God is made unto us wisdom," (Or, 
who is made unto us, uopa a™ Qmv, wisdom from God,) 1 Cor. i, 30. 

The only basis on which religion can rest is religious truth ; and 
where that is wanting, it must degenerate into infidelity, on the one 
hand, or superstition on the other. The religious histoiy of mankind 
is in direct proof of this. Among the ancients, the wise men were 
either atheistic or skeptical ; and the ignorant plunged into the gross- 
est follies of the popular faith. The same process takes place among 
ourselves, whenever the truth which we have is either neglected or 
hidden. They who affect religious inquiry, without resorting to the 
aid of the Scriptures, become infidel in various degrees; and the ig- 
norant convert religion into ceremony, to which they attach a super- 
stitious efficacy, and make it a substitute for holiness. There is a 
necessary connection between instruction and salvation. It is so ap- 
pointed by God ; and his order cannot be violated with impunity. 

It was therefore to be expected, that the perfect dispensation of the 
mercy of God to man, in Christ, which is embodied in the Gospel, as 
it was designed to exert the most effectual moral control over the 
heart and the conduct, and to supersede a religion of hollow and pow- 
erless ceremony, by the substantial principles of love to God and man, 
and practical obedience to the Divine law, should be distinguished by 
the clearness, authority, and number of its revelations, as much as by 
its mercy and purity ; and that, just in proportion to its merciful and 
restoring object and character, it should be a religion of instruction, 
conviction, and motive. 

This is precisely the fact ; and the Christ who is made of God unto 
us " righteousness, sanctification, and redemption," is made unto us 
" wisdom." On this topic the apostle delightfully dwells in this chap- 
ter. The Gentile Corinthians boasted of their wisdom; but it was 
the wisdom of this world, and by it the world knew not God. They 
had to boast of their eloquent declaimers and subtle reasoners; but 
while they taught, argued, and declaimed, the population around them 
sunk lower and yet lower into every vice. But of what had Christian 
Corinthians to boast? Of a wisdom of God, which taught them Gml : 
and of a preaching of the cross, which saved from guilt, sin, and mi- 
sery, all that believed. Ye are not, says he, in this or the other school 
of vain philosophy ; ye have left the wise men after the flesh; "hut 
of God," that is, of his mercy and power, " ye are in Christ Jesus," in 
the fellowship of his disciples and family, " who of God is made unto 
us wisdom," and truly so ; as well as " righteousness, sanctirication, 
and redemption." 

It is to the first branch only of this interesting passage, that we shall 
at present direct our attention. What are the great principles of that 
2 



SEEMON XCVII.] CHHIST THE WISDOM OP BELIEVERS. 279 

wisdom which we are taught by Christ ? And what is its connection 
with our personal salvation ? 

I. Christ is made unto us wisdom, because of those new and illus- 
trious revelations which he has given to us of God. 

There never was a period when there was not the knowledge of 
God in the world. That knowledge was not discovered by reason ; 
nor did the reason of man ever improve upon it. All the reasonings 
of man, because they were influenced by a corrupt heart, darkened 
this truth, that there is a God, till, when the Gospel was announced, if 
his existence was admitted, men were ignorant of his attributes ; and 
Athens herself subverted her own claim to superior wisdom, by publicly 
acknowledging her ignorance of that which it most concerned her to 
know. She wrote upon one of her altars, " To god unknown ;" nor 
eould the mystery be pierced by any of her own sages. It was a dis- 
ciple of Christ, one to whom Christ had been made wisdom, who stood 
on Mars' Hill, and cried, " Him declare I unto you." How humbled 
in that moment appears the wisdom of this world ! How exalted the 
wisdom of Christ ! 

Christ is the great Teacher of God, in two modes : by declaration,, 
and by action. 

1. By declaration. 

In the course of his ministrations he did not reason concerning God ; 
which, indeed, would not have become Him who lay in the bosom of 
the Father. "No man hath seen God at any time." Man, therefore, 
must darkly reason, and doubtfully infer. "The only-begotten Son, 
who lay in the bosom of the Father," who was with God, and who was 
God, neither acquired nor made known this knowledge in that way. 
"He hath declared him." An instance of this declaratory mode of 
teaching we have in his conversation with the Samaritan woman. I 
call your attention to this case, because a single instance, when well 
considered, is more impressive than a slight glance at many. 

She puts the question, whether in Jerusalem or Mount Gerizim God 
were more acceptably worshipped. " Jesus saith unto her, Woman, 
believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, 
nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not 
what : we know what we worship : for salvation is of the Jews. But 
the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship 
the Father in spirit and in truth : for the Father seeketh such to wor- 
ship him. God is a spirit : and they that worship him must worship 
him in spirit and in truth," John iv, 21-24. 

Here we learn that God is a spirit ; that he is in every place alike ; 
that he condescends to be the object of our worship ; that he is not 
pleased with mere ceremonies, but must be worshipped in spirit and 
in truth, calling the soul into this high and holy exercise, that he may 
exalt and ennoble it. And as the worship, both at Jerusalem and upon 
Mount Gerizim, was by sacrifice, we are farther taught, that guilty man 
may approach God through the sacrifice which he hath appointed ; that 
God becomes the Father of such, and so delights in intercourse with 
them ; for " the Father seeketh such to worship him." 

What instruction is here ! What a contrast to the teachings of men ! 
lhis was saying, in the darkness of the world which knew not God, 
Let there be light ; and there was light." 

2 



280 CHRIST THE WISDOM OF BELIEVERS. [SERMOI? XCVII. 

2. Christ was the teacher of the knowledge of God by action. 

In his life he was the visible image of God's purity ; in his works, 
of God's power ; in his condescending compassion, of God's yearning 
goodness ; in the freeness of his gifts, of God's abundant grace and 
liberality ; in his intercourse with his disciples, of God's regard for 
pious, humble souls ; in his denunciations of judgment, of God's justice ; 
and in his death, the brightest and most awful demonstration was given 
of his holiness, justice, and love united. There they were proclaimed, 
tacitly, we grant, in solemn and, for a time, mysterious action ; but as 
the mystery was cleared away by the resurrection, with an emphasis 
which has struck the moral too deep to be ever obliterated, angels and 
men have felt that God is just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly ; a 
just God, and yet a Saviour. 

II. Christ has become to us wisdom, by the views which he has given 
us of the moral condition of man. 

If I wished for information, as to the physical nature of man, I could 
only learn it from Christ, that man is an image of God ; and that he 
has, like God, an immortal nature. 

If I wanted information, as to his moral history, here only could I 
learn that God made man upright ; and here only could I find the 
means of reconciling the two apparently contradictory facts, that God 
can make nothing evil ; and yet that here is a race of creatures, the 
thoughts and imaginations of whose hearts are only evil, and that con- 
tinually. 

But these are not the points on which I would dwell. 

There are points in the moral condition of man which have been 
darkly seen in all ages, and obscurely, but substantially confessed, on 
which Christ has eminently become our wisdom. These are our sin- 
fulness, helplessness, and danger ; with some idea of hope, which every 
where, and in all ages, has prevailed. 

The sinfulness, helplessness, and danger of mankind have all of 
them been acknowledged and felt ; but in what new and awful views 
are they placed by Christ ! I lead you to his last passion, and ask the 
reason of his sufferings ; and the only reason which can be given is, 
that they were severe, because sin was exceeding sinful, and the soul 
of man exposed to a tremendous danger. The reason could not be in 
God. His Son was beloved too much to be thus bruised, except for 
some most important and ulterior object. The reason could not be in 
the malice of the Jews, or the power of the Romans ; for he could have 
prayed his Father, and " a legion of angels" would have been sent to 
his rescue. The reason lay in the moral condition of men ; and here 
we learn what that moral condition was. And let me remark that this 
is a first and leading truth. Sin is not a trifle. See the proof of this 
in the sorrows of thy Saviour. It is not in man to make atonement 
for sin. Behold, the victim which God appointed was both God and 
man. The danger is not one that is evitable by human means; or 
means so strange, so peculiarly Divine, would not have been employed. 
The punishment of sin is not light. If the substitute so suffered, 
what must the principal suffer, should he reject his Saviour ? He must 
suffer pain of body, indicated by the tortures of the cross ; — pain of 
spirit, indicated by a " soul sorrowing even unto death ;" — desertion by 
God, — " Why hast thou forsaken me ?" — and this, in the case of the 
2 



SERMON XCVII.] CHRIST THE WISDOM OF BELIEVERS. 281 

finally lost, exasperated by the sense of guilt, which silences complaint, 
and by an eternity, which excludes all hope. 

But O the adorable mercy of our God in Christ ! In proportion to 
this affecting and terrible display of the guilt and danger of man is the 
(dory of that bright hope, the rays of which play around the cross, and 
shine to the ends of the earth. By the sufferings of Christ justice 
was satisfied, and God reconciled to man ; and this light is thrown 
upon our condition, that, sinful, helpless, and endangered as it is, we 
are all invited to obtain mercy. The blood which was shed on earth 
speaks in heaven. In Him whom our sins crucified we have an ever- 
lasting Advocate. The way into the holiest is opened and consecrated ; 
and whosoever draws near, with penitence and faith, deeply as his 
agonized heart may sigh, " Enter not into judgment with thy servant, 
O Lord," and, " God be merciful to me a sinner," shall go down to his 
house freely justified. To Christ we owe this wisdom ; and, indeed, 
where else could I obtain it ? The wisdom of this world sends me to 
the book of nature. I go ; but there I see contrary perfections and 
operations. I see light and darkness, sunshine and storm ; a God 
who gives life, and takes it away ; a flow of goodness, and an inflic- 
tion of severity. If I hope in one view, I am plunged into terror on 
the other. Pharisaism sends me to the law, and bids me obey. Ah ! 
but "when I would do good, evil is present with me;" and should I 
please myself with a fancied perfection of obedience for the moment, 
" my past iniquities take hold upon me, so that I am not able to look 
up." I bless, then, the wisdom of Christ. The difficulty is removed ; 
the debt is cancelled ; justice is satisfied ; I believe, accept, and rejoice 
in " the righteousness which is of God by faith." 

III. Christ is made unto us wisdom, in the discoveries he has made 
of the nature, extent, and possibility of holiness. 

To this subject how little of the attention of the world has been di- 
rected ; and yet is there a subject worthy of a consideration so deep ? 
The foulest blot in creation is an unholy spirit. The brightest, the 
loveliest idea that can enter the human mind is that of moral order, and 
the purity of the heart. Were all nature reduced to order, and all the 
arrangements of society conformed to justice and truth ; were a world 
of men recovered to God, and paradise restored, and but one unholy 
spirit remained ; it would be disconnected in principle and feeling from 
every thing in nature, and every thing in society ; and in these cir- 
cumstances it would be seen how low sin prostrates the spirit, how 
bitterly it rankles in the disorder of the affections. Amidst the uni- 
versal harmony, that string would not vibrate ; amidst the universal 
communion of saints, that heart would be solitary and restless ; and 
that countenance, like Cain's, would be fallen. The joy of others would 
be its pains ; the sanctified employments of men, irksome. Every 
word and every example would be a reproof; and could the company 
of hell be enjoyed without their tortures, even hell would be sought as 
a refuge from a world full of saints, and full of God. 

If the state of one unholy man in a recovered world would afford a 
striking exemplification of the principle of sin, the habits and feelings 
of an individual in a world where the majority are alienated from God, 
and only a few love him, or are like him, exemplifies the principle of 
holiness. The holy human spirit is solitary, indeed, as to men, like 

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282 CHRIST THE WISDOM OF BELIEVERS. [SERMON XCVII. 

Noah in the old world, and Lot in Sodom. .Rivers of water run down his 
eyes because men keep not God's law. He can have no communion 
with the works of darkness, but rather reproves them. Yet we see with 
what he has communion. Hears he of a few who fear the Lord, and 
speak often one to another ? With them he casts his lot. Does a song 
of praise ascend, amidst the blasphemies of men, in honour of God 1 In 
that chorus his voice is heard. Are there works of piety and charity 
projected amidst universal selfishness, or destructive agencies ? He is 
in their plan, or execution. Were he shut out from all these ; were he 
truly, what Elijah fancied himself, left alone of all the worshippers of 
God ; he would seek and find communion with his God, and be satisfied. 
His spirit would seek whatever was pure amidst the general pollution. 
From the crimes of men he would fly to the dispensations of Provi- 
dence, and sing of judgment and mercy. From the works of man, 
stained with his iniquities, he would fly to the works of God, and hold 
converse with every object of nature which could remind him of the 
wisdom and goodness of God. He would seek God, and find him, in 
the sanctuary of his own hallowed thoughts, and walk and converse 
with the Invisible. 

Of principles so much in contrast need I ask you which you prefer ? 
And need I say that the wisdom which teaches how the principle of 
holiness may be implanted and matured, is wisdom in a sense the most 
emphatic ? 

Christ is made unto us this wisdom. The nature of real holiness is 
explained to us by him. It is not a ceremonial holiness, — the mistake 
of superstition. It is not merely a regulation of the heart and conduct, 
as to ourselves and others, — the mistake of philosophers. It is not a 
sentimental approval of what is fair and good, — the mistake of men of 
imagination. It is the conversion of the heart to God ; the regeneration 
of the whole nature ; the renewal of the primitive image of God in 
man. This is its nature. Its rule is the glorious ideal, so to speak, 
contained in every precept of the Gospel, in every grace it inculcates, 
in every promise it exhibits. There is the model ; and to that we are 
to be conformed, until the whole lives and is embodied in our spirit 
and conduct. 

The possibility of this is explained by Jesus Christ. Without hope 
there could be no effort. The lowest views of heathen virtue were 
above human attainment, because man was left to work it out by him- 
self. The tale of bricks was exacted without the straw ; and the 
teachers of morals expected grapes from thorns, and figs of thistles. 
The agency exhibited by Christ in the accomplishment of our sanctifi- 
cation, is equal to the effect. With man, it is allowed, the entire re- 
newal of our nature is impossible ; but with God all things are possible. 
To him our hope is turned. His Spirit is the sanctifier ; and the whole 
process of our consecration to God is the mighty working of the Holy 
Ghost, with the means which he has appointed in order to that end. 

IV- If we now turn our thoughts from our own personal experience 
to subjects more general, though still such that we have a constant 
personal interest in them, we may observe that Christ is made unto us 
wisdom, because of that revelation which he has made of the principles 
on which that world of which we form a part is governed. 

That the world is under government, is a dictate of the clearest 
2 



SERMON XCVIII.] THE REDEMPTION OF TIME. 283 

reason. The world of matter is governed. This is as easily demon- 
strated, as that it was created. Its regularities and irregularities 
equally prove it. Blind and insensible matter cannot be a law to 
itself; and if it is under law, that law is the will and power of a go- 
verning mind. But is every element directed and controlled? Does 
a mighty energy grasp and order every atom ? and is man, intelligent 
and immortal man, for whom this world itself was made, left at large, 
the sport of chance, or the prey of his own perverseness ? To no pro- 
position does the mind more readily assent, than to this, — that He who 
made us must govern us : and if there was a proposed end in creation, 
that end must be secured by superintendence. But who knows that 
end, and the means by which it is all along promoted 1 Not any. Such 
an end supposes revelation ; and by revelation, the revelation of Christ, 

it is made known. 

******* 



Sermon XCVIII. — The Redemption of Time. 

" Redeeming the time, because the days are evil," Eph. v, 16. 

It is scarcely possible for a reflecting person to suffer the last Sab- 
bath in the year to close without endeavouring, from this circumstance, 
to direct his thoughts to the close of human life, when no more Sab- 
baths will be enjoyed. This last Sabbath of the year reminds us, too, 
of the approaching termination of one of the great divisions of human 
life. We can scarcely part with any of these periods without reflec- 
tions every way tending to sober the mind. 

There is one folly of which we are frequently guilty : we are apt 
to be afflicted at the loss of large periods of time, but we suffer the 
smaller ones, of which they are composed, to escape without notice. 
We cannot part with a year without regret, but we throw away days, 
and weeks, and months, with composure. This is a fault ; it results 
from want of reflection. It is as certain that every minute is reducing 
the span of life, as that every year is reducing it. We ought to be 
more particularly attentive to these smaller portions of time : for want 
of this attention, years pass away, perhaps life itself, without notice. 
Mere common-place reflections, however, upon the rapidity with which 
time is leaving us, will effect but little for us unless they produce firm 
and solemn resolution as to our future conduct. To redeem time is to 
apply life to those purposes for which it was given ; when it is not so 
employed, it lays a foundation for eternal and remediless ruin. Nor 
does this duty merely arise from the consideration that life is very 
limited, that but a short duration is allotted to us in this present state ; 
for had we the age of Methuselah to revel in, there would be the same 
obligation on us to redeem the time ; nay, even if we were in eternity, 
there would be the same obligation to spend every successive portion 
of our existence in the best possible manner. A n eternity of trifling 
would be but an eternity of weariness and vexation ; if eternity were 
spent in sin, it would be an eternity of continually increasing misery. 
It is not merely because we have only a short time to live, that we are 
called upon wisely to redeem the time, but because our best interests 

2 



284 THE REDEMPTION OF TIME. [SEHMON XCVIII. 

are all bound up with the duty. He who redeems the time, presses it 
into his own personal service, and extracts from it blessings that shall 
endure for ever. 

Let us now consider, 

I. The subject of the exhortation, " time." 

II. The duty enjoined on us, " redeeming the time." 

III. The reason by which it is enforced, " the days are evil." 
I. The subject of the exhortation, " time." 

This is what is to be redeemed. The word " time" sometimes sig- 
nifies the whole duration assigned to the present world : so long as the 
world exists, so long is there time ; but the period shall come when 
the great angel shall descend from heaven and pronounce the solemn 
oath that, "time shall be no longer." This is an important period. 
All the plans of God's providence are to be transacted in this world ; 
and man finds here his state of probation ; from this we must all soon 
pass : and so shall it be with other generations in successive ages ; all 
shall go into an eternal state, in which their unalterable condition shall 
be determined by their conduct in time. 

The apostle, however, does not in this place use the word in so 
extensive a sense. Time sometimes signifies the period of human life ; 
as long as we are in the present world, we are said to be in time ; as 
when life ends, we are said to be in eternity : the reason is, that the 
time which we occupy in the present state is that which God allots for 
our personal probation and trial. All God's dispensations in respect 
to us, whether of providence or grace, refer to this period, and have 
their limits fixed by it. This suggests a most important thought, that, 
in this respect, there is not an action we perform in our present pro- 
bationary state, but has some reference to eternity, but will, in some 
measure, contribute to our eternal joy, or our eternal pain. In the 
epistle to the Galatians, the apostle tells us, that " whatsoever a man 
soweth, that shall he also reap :" an impressive figure of speech, by 
which he represents the present life as the ground ; and the actions of 
men, whether good or bad, as the seed ; the harvest of which shall be 
reaped in eternity. We, perhaps, forget our actions, but we shall meet 
them once again ; we shall meet them all before the throne of God ; 
there, in the full light of his countenance, shall they all start into new 
existence, and either claim, through the covenant of mercy in Christ, 
the condescending and free rewards of grace, or demand the proper 
punishment of sin, — utter and endless wo. 

But there is yet another sense of the word " time," and it is that in 
which it seems to be specially used by the apostle in the text ; it means 
"season," or "opportunity :" "Redeeming the opportunity, because the 
days are evil ;" all the opportunity, that is, which God bestows upon 
us, for getting and doing good, for acquainting ourselves with him, and 
being at peace. And these opportunities are either general or special. 

1. General, with respect to the religious advantages which we all 
enjoy. 

Ours is the day of salvation ; ours the best and most favourable op- 
portunity for acquiring the knowledge of our Lord Jesus. The heathens 
have not such a day of opportunity as we have ; under whatever kind 
of rule or dispensation they live, .they possess not the advantages which 
we so abundantly enjoy. We have the clear light of truth, and, with 
2 



SERMON XCVIII.J THE REDEMPTION OF TIME. 285 

that, those spiritual influences which accompany the faithful ministra- 
tions of the Gospel. Even in our own country many have not the 
opportunities which we enjoy : living, it may be, in obscure and retired 
places, they have not the ordinances of religion in that abundance in 
which we possess them. They to whom the apostle addressed the 
exhortation had these general advantages and opportunities ; and be- 
cause we possess them, the same exhortation must be urged on our 
consciences, "Redeeming the time." 

2. But our opportunity may be considered special, as well as general. 

The Gospel is never preached without an accompanying effusion of 
the Spirit; but still "the wind bloweth where it listeth." There is 
much sovereignty in the dispensations of the Spirit ; there are times 
and seasons when his influences are more powerful, more striking in 
their evidences and results ; times when " the Spirit is poured out," 
like the copious shower, "from on high." Sometimes the Church is 
thus specially visited, sometimes individuals : but whether general or 
special, the opportunity is to be redeemed. 

II. Consider the exhortation itself, " Redeeming the time," or op- 
portunity. 

The expression is metaphorical : the apostle alludes to the customs 
of trade by which goods are exposed for sale by some, and purchased 
by others ; there is sometimes a danger of neglecting the best oppor- 
tunities of purchasing ; in such cases either the goods are bought up 
by others, or advanced in price, and we are thus put to some incon- 
venience, because we did not embrace the opportunity before it passed 
away from us. This seems to be the idea which the apostle intended 
to present : now you have the opportunity of obtaining much spiritual 
good, of securing your everlasting salvation ; see that you do not let it 
pass unimproved ; get from it all it is intended to afford ; redeem the 
time ; buy up the opportunity. 

Let us, consider, then, by what means we may observe this important 
exhortation ; how we may avail ourselves of our opportunities, and so 
redeem the time. 

1. We redeem time by consideration. 

An inconsiderate man must always lose his time, because he lives 
for no particular end ; for want of thought, he cannot employ the best 
means for the accomplishment of any end which may occasionally 
strike him as being desirable. If religion does any thing for us, it will 
make us considerate ; we shall consider the great ends of life, and the 
means by which we are to accomplish them. This habit of consider- 
ation — of looking to our goings, of walking circumspectly — is one of 
the best and most effectual methods of redeeming time : they who live 
considerately do not live at random ; days, months, and years will not 
escape us without leaving some impression which shall be to our 
ultimate advantage. We sink below the character of man, rational, 
accountable, and immortal man, if we live without the habit of con- 
sideration, which is at the root of all true religion. 

2. We redeem time when we turn every thing we have to do, in 
the common concerns of life, into a, religious channel. 

There are those, I know, who suppose the various occupations of 
life to be incompatible with the spirit of religion in the great work of 
salvation : such persons are continually entangled with the affairs of 

2 



s> 



286 THE REDEMPTION OF TIME. [SERMON XCVIII, 

this life, because they never seek to sanctify them by referring, in all 
their transactions, to the great ends for which God sent us into the 
world. If a man's calling be lawful, and he transact the affairs of that 
calling lawfully, if he wish to glorify God in all things, and continually 
to act as in the Divine presence, then will he be enabled, while he is 
not slothful in business, to continue serving the Lord. Whatever is 
incompatible with this union of business and devotion, ought to be given 
up ; and, the fact is, that when we regard our proper and lawful calling 
as appointed by God, and do all to his glory which it requires from us, 
we shall find even the affairs of this life exerting a religious influence 
on our minds : we shall thus be " redeeming the time," because we 
shall be employing it in reference to eternity. 

3. We redeem time by living in a devotional spirit. 

And that for two reasons. First : this will cast out every thing 
trifling, much more every thing sinful, from our leisure hours. We 
have learned a very important lesson, when we have learned to spend 
our leisure time well. It is from the loose and dissipated manner in 
which that portion of time is often spent which may be spared from 
the occupations of life, that so much evil is introduced into the heart. 
This continually weakens the religious tone of the spirit, destroys union 
with God, and thus separates the soul from the fountain of life. But 
when we learn to spend this portion of our time profitably, giving part 
of it to useful reading, part to an attendance on the various means of 
grace, then are we redeeming the time ; we avail ourselves of it, and 
turn it to our own advantage. But a devotional spirit will do more than 
this ; for, secondly, its preservation and exercise are perfectly compa- 
tible with the affairs of life. If we have leisure for sinful thoughts and 
trifles, — and who does not complain of these ? — then are there some 
openings when secret desires and prayers may be offered up. Of these 
a devotional spirit will habitually avail itself. Thus shall we learn the 
holy art of separation from the world, while yet in the midst of.it. We 
shall be able to be 

'"Midst busy multitudes, alone." 

The time will thus be redeemed by the profitable occupation of its 
numerous interstices. 

4. We must not forget, that, in the meaning of the apostle, the prin- 
cipal way by which time is to be redeemed is, not merely by making 
efforts to promote our final blessedness, but by actually securing our 
present salvation. 

No man can be said to redeem time, if he does not avail himself of 
the opportunities which the Gospel presents of obtaining forgiveness 
of sins, and inheritance among them that are sanctified. Nothing can 
be considered as an advantage, if separated from the actual and present 
deliverance of the soul from darkness, and guilt, and sin. If we have 
not this, though we retain all beside, we are poor and wretched indeed. 
Even in this sense, " what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, 
and lose his own soul ?" In the full sense of the words, then, our time 
is redeemed, we avail ourselves of the opportunity, when we come as 
sinful creatures to our Lord Jesus Christ for his mercy ; when, receiving 
his salvation, we yield ourselves to him, and so walk in him, that the 
work of grace may be carried on and completed in our hearts. 
2 



SEEMOJt XCVIII.J THE REDEMPTION OF TIME. 287 

III. We have now to consider the motives by which the apostle 
enforces the exhortation : " Redeeming the time, because the days are 

evil." 

They are evil, first, in a general sense. We often use the phrase 
in reference to our own times ; and, unhappily, its correctness cannot 
be denied. This age, as well as the age of the apostles, though not in 
the same sence, is a wicked one. We are surrounded with wicked men. 
We find, notwithstanding all the improvements in society, a general 
forgetfulness of God ; and not only that, but very much contempt of 
his word and commandments. Vices of the most aggravated character 
pollute society. Whatever the generality of men may think, or however 
they may act, yet is this consideration a very forcible one. We ought 
to redeem the time, because the days are evil. In proportion as others 
are unrighteous and evil, it becomes the Christian to be " good, and 
upright in heart." Our Lord has said that when " iniquity shall abound, 
the love of many shall wax cold ;" but this is no necessary consequence. 
It becomes those who see, and who profess to deplore, the sad effects 
of sin ; who see that because sentence against an evil work is not 
executed speedily, the hearts of men are set in them to do evil ; it be- 
comes them, under such circumstances, more diligently to apply them- 
selves, first, to secure the salvation of their own souls, and then, so to 
let their light shine before men, that others may see their good works, 
and glorify their Father which is in heaven. " Redeeming the time, 
because the days are evil." 

Secondly, the days are thus generally evil, because they are days 
of distress ; and this view of them will show the duty to be incum- 
bent on us. It were well, indeed, if men generally were impressed 
with this important truth, that seasons of afflictions are calls from God 
for humiliation and repentance. But that is not the case. The gloomy 
aspect of the present time is referred to second causes alone. Cod 
and his providence are left out of the account. What man can wonder 
at the present affliction and distress, who reflects upon this, that when 
we enjoyed national prosperity, it was employed to purposes of luxury 
and sin? He who believes that the sins of a people always separate 
between them and God, so that he will not hear their prayer, will not 
be surprised when he sees sin followed by punishment ; and he will 
refer that punishment to its proper cause. No man that properly 
respects the authority of the word of God can possibly ascribe national 
distress to the mere operation of second causes, to man only. There is 
nothing which more completely prevents persons from seeing the hand of 
God in his judgments, and deriving benefit from them, than this habit of 
laying their distress upon the faults of others. In times of distress, 
there may be a multitude of good people who suffer ; but, generally 
speaking, there is not a misery which comes upon a nation, but it is 
the result of general transgression. When men get into the habit of 
saying, " This should be done," or, "That should be done ;" " This per- 
son should be put out of office ;" " That person should be put in ;" 
nothing half so much as this habit shuts out God from the world. 
" Lord," says the prophet, " when thy hand is lifted up, they will not 
see : but they shall see." If they will not see his hand in lighter 
afflictions, they shall see it in heavier. Therefore, because the days 
are evil, because there is so much distress in the land, we are called 

2 



288 THE REDEMPTION OF TIME. [SERMON XCVIII. 

to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God ; to return unto 
him, seeking, that we may find his mercy and favour. 

And this may be applied individually. The days are evil, in the 
sense of affliction, to a number of individuals ; and it is written, " In 
the day of adversity consider." It is too frequently the case, that the 
various trials of the present life serve only to separate man from God : 
under these trying dispensations, some persons who have a degree of 
piety lose their faith in God, and do not possess their souls in patience. 
In a state of sorrow and difficulty we have more need of God. It is 
possible for us, by redeeming the time, to have our cause committed 
into his hands, and to bring his special interposition into action on our 
behalf; at any rate, we then employ our time to the best and most 
useful purposes when we are seeking to learn, from even affliction, the 
important moral lessons which it teaches. God will not leave the 
righteous man without his presence and blessing ; if you call upon 
him in the day of trouble, he will deliver you, and you shall glorify 
him. 

There is another sense in which the days are evil. The apostle 
calls the whole Christian warfare, " the evil day :" " That ye may 
withstand in the evil day." Throughout life it is an evil day in this 
respect, that we are ever exposed to enemies and temptations ; and 
the circumstance, that we are thus situated, is one of the loudest calls 
possible to prayer and watchfulness, to the entire devotion of ourselves 
to God, making him the end of all our actions, that his wisdom may 
enlighten us, and his grace give us the final victory over all our ene- 
mies. Because the days are thus evil, because we must press through 
all opposition, surmount all difficulties, and pass close by the gates of 
hell to heaven, let us be careful to redeem the time. 

That the days are evil may be impressed on you by two or three 
additional considerations. In the figurative manner of speaking em- 
ployed by the apostle, we have already observed, there is an allusion 
to persons who lose, through negligence, the opportunity of securing 
an advantageous purchase : the apostle makes the allusion to engage 
us to an instant use of all the opportunities God has bestowed upon 
us. In the human mind there is a continual inclination to delay ; and 
let it be observed, that every day we live in the spirit of the world 
that inclination is increased ; every day we spend under the influence 
of sin serves to render our habits more stubborn and confirmed ; every 
clay that we have resisted the Spirit of God, we have acquired addi- 
tional hardness, and thus we present an increasing resistance to the 
Divine influence. There is a solemnity which a person loses when 
he comes to trifle with God, with Divine calls, and religious opportu- 
nities ; if salvation is attained afterward, it is attained with greater 
difficulty ; the repentance is more deep and painful ; the struggle is 
more powerful ; and there is the increased probability of failure, and 
therefore the diminished probability of ultimate success. Nor does 
this apply merely to persons who are first seeking the Lord ; it applies 
to Christian believers throughout every stage of their experience. 
Opportunities of constant improvement are afforded ; and the neglect 
of such opportunities, and consequently of the improvement itself, can 
never exist without some retrograde movement ; the mind becomes 
weaker in its resistance to evil ; the same quantity of Divine influence, 
2 



SERMON XCVIII.] THE REDEMPTION OP TIME. 289 

so to speak, does not produce the same effect. Where there is a habit 
of trifling, the Holy Spirit of God is grieved. Instead of running the 
way of God's commandments without weariness, the trifler makes but 
a slow and tardy progress ; and this renders ultimate success extremely 
hazardous. The final blessing, the crown of righteousness, is exhi- 
bited, and we have the opportunity of securing it ; but, instead of 
promptly availing ourselves, we calculate upon its continuance, and 
allow ourselves to neglect it. We may not set limits to the mercy of 
God ; it is not for us to say when the forbearance of mercy ceases, 
and when judgment begins. There seems to be a great variety in 
God's dealings with men ; but no man may presume that the Lord will 
delay his coming to call the servant to account because, through 
carelessness and sloth, the servant is not prepared to render it. We 
put our salvation in hazard when we neglect those opportunities which 
God has given to us, not to be trifled with, but that we may secure by 
them the most valuable ends. Hear what the apostle says : " We, 
receiving a kingdom that cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby 
we may serve God acceptably, and with godly fear ; for our God is a 
consuming fire." Never forget that part of his character. Serve the 
Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling : the least disposition to 
trifling and delay should be most carefully guarded against ; for it 
is that which puts the salvation of our immortal spirits in hazard and 
danger. 

Finally. The time will come when, as to many unhappy spirits, the 
opportunity will be lost for ever. "To-day, therefore, if you will hear 
his voice, harden no.t your hearts ;" if the heart be hardened, if the 
soul be steeled against God, if trifles occupy our attention, to the ex- 
clusion of things of everlasting moment, if thus you ai;e neglecting 
the opportunity, I say not that you will never repent, never find mercy ; 
but, even on the most favourable view of the case, bitter will be your 
regrets, heavy your self-condemnation : the recollection of time lost, 
never to be recalled, — opportunities neglected, never to be again pos- 
sessed, — will sting you to the soul. " Harden not your hearts ;" but 
remember, the case may be otherwise : there are many who, when 
they go to buy, shall find no oil ; God has removed it from the market. 
Recollect the parable of the foolish virgins : when the midnight cry 
arose, they went to the wise to beg, but these had none to spare ; they 
went to those that sold, but while they went, the Bridegroom came, 
and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and then 
the door was shut. Redeem, then, the opportunity while you have it ; 
and let the consideration of the rapid flight of time, and, as to you, its 
short duration, induce you, without delay, to flee to the refuge set be- 
fore you ; to secure your best interests by faith in Christ ; and, hav- 
ing done this, to take care that all your future days, whether they be 
many or few, be entirely devoted to him, and spent in working out 
your own salvation. 

Vol. II. 19 



290 THE REMEDY OF THE [SERMON XCIX. 

Sermon XCIX.— The Remedy of the World's Misery. 



" The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light : they that dwell 
in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast 
multiplied the nations, and not increased the joy : they joy before thee according 
to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou 
hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his 
oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with con- 
fused noise, and garments rolled in blood ; but this shall be with burning and fuel 
of fire. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given : and the government 
shall be upon his shoulder : and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, 
The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace. Of the increase 
of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and 
upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice 
from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this," 
Isaiah ix, 2-7. 

Were we altogether unacquainted with the Scriptures of the New 
Testament, we could not carefully read the writings of the Jewish 
prophets without being convinced that many parts of them have more 
than a temporary and local interest ; and that they repose upon events, 
not only interesting to the seed of Abraham, but to every nation and 
kindred under heaven. We should discover, even without the comment 
of evangelists and apostles, that the hopes of all the prophets rested 
upon the advent of one glorious personage : that he was to be truly a 
man like themselves ; but to be also distinguished from all men, both 
by his office of universal Sovereign, which he was to fill with a pomp 
of" circumstance, and a graciousness of administration, which no earthly 
monarch ever exhibited, but also by attributes of natural and moral 
perfection which would equal him with God. And it could not fail to 
strike us, that so completely was the appearance of this singular per- 
sonage the great end of all their hopes and anxieties, that from the 
moment they behold, in the spirit of prophecy, the dawning of the long- 
expected day, they dismiss all those fears and griefs which the apos- 
tasies of their own people, and the wretched state of the heathen na- 
tions, had excited ; and considering the great Restorer of all things as 
entered upon his office, they look with confidence to the most glorious 
results. Then their holy ardour kindles ; then the page of prophecy 
brightens and burns as they dictate it ; and with shouts of admira- 
tion, praise, and triumph, they attend on the promised Redeemer, as 
he proceeds to the successful execution of his purposes, and the salva- 
tion of the world. 

All this would be discovered in the writings of the prophets, had we 
not the New Testament ; and all this was discovered in them by the 
pious Jews. But with the facts of the New Testament, the glorious 
but general prospects of the prophets assume, at least in part, a more 
defined and particular appearance. We can tell who this Messiah is ; 
we have seen him ourselves ; we have traced the history of his humili- 
ation and glory ; we have seen his kingdom set up, and the prediction 
in part verified. Still, however, we are not arrived at that period when 
the book of prophecy is of no farther service to us ; when accomplish- 
ment has, in a sense, converted prophecy into fact. Much remains 
to be accomplished ; and we are still, to a great extent, in the case of 
2 



SERMON XCIX. 



MISERY OF THE WORLD. 291 



the ancient Jews, who " saw the promises afar off;" but like them, too, 
we are " persuaded of them, and embrace them." We have stronger 
reasons for our faith ; because much of what was prophecy to them 
has become history to us ; and we have better means of conceiving of 
those predictions which are unfulfilled, because we have a greater num- 
ber of facts, and a wider range of analogy, from which to reason. 

The prophecies contained in the text are of a mixed kind ; they are 
partly fulfilled, and partly unfulfilled. We have the authority of the 
Evangelist St. Matthew to apply the passage to Gospel times, and to 
prevent it from being restricted to the Jews ; for he who is " the glory 
of his people Israel" is the " light to lighten the Gentiles," Luke i, 79 ; 
ii, 32. 

The text is evidently too copious to allow of the discussion of all 
the important points which it presents to our notice ; but it will fur- 
nish us with considerations suited to the present missionary occasion. 
Let us, 

I. Consider the view taken by the prophet of the moral state of the 
world previous to the glorious change which makes the subject of his 
prophecy. 

1. The people are represented as walking in darkness. 

The Holy Spirit, who spoke by the prophet, could not mean the Jews 
only ; though they are included in this description ; for they, though 
comparatively in darkness, had such a degree of light as would not 
warrant the use of terms so strong, if they only had been intended. 
The prophet contemplates the world at large ; and as the nations of 
the earth pass in succession before him, in those pictures which the 
inspiring Spirit figured on his imagination, he beholds them enveloped 
in darkness, and walking amidst the dangers and horrors of death. 

Light is an emblem of knowledge. Darkness is an emblem of igno- 
rance and error ; and an emblem the most striking. As the pall of 
darkness is drawn over the world, the fair face of nature fades from 
the sight ; every object becomes indistinct, or is wholly obscured ; and 
all that can cheer the sight or direct the steps of man vanishes : so the 
gradual accumulation of religious errors, thickening with every age, 
banished the knowledge of God and his truth from the understandings 
of men, till all that was sublime in speculation, cheering to the heart, 
supporting to the hopes, or directive to the actions of men, passed away 
from the soul, and left the intellectual world like that of nature when 
deprived of light. The heaven of the soul was hung with blackness, 
and "their foolish heart was darkened." 

Were the truths of religion less operative and practical, as matters 
of inferior moment, and affecting temporal interests only, we should 
nevertheless lament their loss to any portion of our fellow men. So- 
ciety without those truths which have the greatest certainty, which 
from the noblest subject of contemplation, and give an elevation and 
grandeur to the intellectual character, which form the taste, soften the 
manners, and rear up the social polity of nations, must be considered as 
sustaining a great and incalculable loss. But this is a trifling considera- 
tion in comparison of others. Truth in doctrine is, by an essential and 
necessary bond, connected with religion in practice ; with all that we 
mean by that word in the heart, and in the life ; in our relations to God, 
and to eternity. We who see around us more light than men choose 

2 



292 THE REMEDY OF THE fSEEMON XCIX. 

to walk by, are apt to think too lightly of the connection which subsists 
between knowledge and practice ; and because we see them partially 
unconnected in some, we think they are wholly so in the majority. 
But this is a false notion. Religious knowledge is always to some 
extent operative ; but where it does not exist, no morality, no piety 
can exist. This is an awful thought. We sometimes coolly say that 
heathen nations are ignorant ; but have we thought how much that im- 
plies ? They know not God ; and what is the practical consequence 1 
They do not worship him. His greatness is hidden from them ; and 
there is therefore among them no adoration. His goodness is hidden 
from them ; and therefore they have no hope. His holiness is hidden 
from them ; and therefore they have no standard of moral purity. The 
harmony of justice and mercy, in saving men through an accepted 
atonement, is hidden from them. They have no knowledge of the true 
sacrifice, and therefore no peace of conscience, no trust in the mercy 
of God. They have no knowledge of the moral will of God ; and there- 
fore there is among them no obedience. No Gospel is proclaimed to 
them ; and no hearts therefore bound at the joyful sound. The sanc- 
tions of future punishment and reward gleam but indistinctly upon the 
darkness around them ; and they therefore walk according to the sight 
of their eyes, and the imagination of their hearts ; and, what is worse, 
in the blindness of their minds they form religions, not to check, but 
encourage, what true religion was designed to destroy ; to fan the flame 
of guilty appetite, and to excite and express the worst and strongest 
passions. 

2. But darkness alone appears to the mind of the prophet only a 
faint emblem of the state of the heathen : he adds, therefore, " the 
shadow of death." 

In Scripture this expression is used for death, the grave; the dark- 
ness of that subterranean mansion into which the Jews supposed the 
souls of men went after death. Figuratively, the expression is used 
for great distress ; a state of danger and terror. It is an amplification, 
therefore, of the prophet's thought. It is darkness, thick darkness ; the 
darkness of the grave, or of the place where damned spirits are held 
in chains of darkness. The predominant idea is that of a sense of in- 
security, accompanied by fear. Darkness increases danger and fear at 
the same time. Such is the state of the heathen. They have a strong 
feeling of danger, and chilling horrors of destruction ; as a traveller in 
the dark amid pitfalls, or a mariner amid rocks. This representation 
affords a sufficient answer to those who fancy that, though the heathen 
are ignorant and superstitious, yet they are happy ; that their religion, 
followed in a kind and innocent simplicity, yields them a comfort not in- 
ferior to our own. These are dreams. The heathen are in darkness. 
It is night with them ; yet they are not thereby lulled into refreshing 
sleep, or cheered by pleasing visions. No ; they walk in darkness ; 
timidity, apprehension, disquiet, attend every step ; and visions of real 
and imaginary horrors flit through the gloom, and inspire them with 
dread and horror. 

Experience has justified this representation of the prophet. The 

religion of the heathen has ever been gloomy and horrible. If early 

superstitions were somewhat refined by the Greeks and Romans, this 

arose, in a considerable degree, from the light which was reflected 

2 



SERMON XCIX.] MISERY OF THE WOULD. 293 

from the Jews, whose Scriptures and institutions conveyed instruction 
to all the neighbouring countries. Where the heathen nations have 
walked in darkness, they have walked in the shadow of death. The 
eastern and western worlds attest this. The superstitions of Hindos- 
tan, Africa, and America, are equally cruel and degrading, and present 
an affecting view of the fears and anxieties of the people. 

Superstition is a word so often used, that the evil which it desig- 
nates has passed for innocent and playful aberrations of ignorance. — 
Were I to attempt its description, I would say that superstition is the 
restless effort of a guilty but blind conscience, to find rest, and peace, 
and good, by unauthorized propitiations and ceremonies ; and the hor- 
rid nature of these propitiations, and the multitude of these ceremonies, 
equally prove the strong feeling of distress in the soul, and the ineffi- 
cacy of the means used to remove it. What must that feeling of guilt 
be, which can break the bonds of our common relationship, and offer 
in sacrifice a fellow creature? which can suppress the feelings of a 
mother, and induce the offering of a child ? What must be that restless 
anxiety of soul, which impels men to undertake long and wasting pil- 
grimages ? what the horror of destruction, which induces a submission 
to dreadful penances, like those practised in India, in which the flesh 
is lacerated, and agonies of long-continued pain are endured ? What 
must be the state of feeling, which could give birth to, and continue, 
gods of the most gloomy and sanguinary character, represented in the 
forms of idols monstrously horrible, realizing forms more distorted and 
chilling than ever shook and tortured the imagination of the most sul- 
len maniac ? The whole is in proof of darkness ; yes, and of misery 
and terror. The conscience asks repose, and cannot find it. Justice 
sternly calls for satisfaction ; and the culprit offers his most costly 
sacrifices, — his body, or the fruit of his body, for the sin of his soul ; 
but the offering is refused, and the threat of punishment thunders still 
in his ear. Thus the minds of the heathen are kept in perpetual alarm. 
They are all their lifetime subject to bondage through the fear of death. 
He points against them his unerring dart, and envelopes them in his 
gloomy shadow. They are in imminent danger, in the very shadow 
of death. 

3. The prophet adds another note of the state of the heathen. "Thou 
hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy." 

He not only beholds them in darkness, and surrounded with the hor- 
ror of the shadow of death ; but increasing in numbers only to multi- 
ply their misery. 

If the prophet speaks of the Jewish people, he declares a fact re- 
markably striking. One of the blessings promised- to their founder 
Abraham was, that his seed should be multiplied, as the stars of hea- 
ven, and the sands of the sea shore. But that which was designed as 
a blessing, and is described as such in the promise, was made a curse 
by the wickedness of the Jews. For what end, in the former periods 
of their history, did they multiply, but to furnish food for captivities, 
slaughter, and oppression? In later times they have multiplied, 
and spread themselves over the world ; but their joy has not been in- 
creased. Degraded in character, and despised by the nations where 
they sojourn, without a country, a temple, or a sacrifice, they bear, 

2 



294 THE REMEDY OF THE [SERMON XCIX. 

like Cain, the mark of God's curse, are vagabonds in the earth, pre- 
served to warn us of the just severity of God. 

There is nothing, however, in the connection to induce us to suppose 
that the prophet particularly contemplated the Jewish nation. The 
same thing must be affirmed of every nation that abandons itself to 
wickedness. When nations are multiplied, their political strength is 
increased ; and happiness would be multiplied too, were it not for sin. 
But in wicked nations the "joy is not increased." This negative ex- 
pression signifies that misery is increased. God has not added his 
blessing ; and there is no joy. In the mind of the prophet nations are 
seen rising out of their original stocks ; proceeding from families to 
tribes ; to smaller states ; and from states to empires : yet in all he 
sees only the enlargement, the expansion of human misery. In thus 
tracing the progress of society, he tacitly, however, intimates the cause 
of all this misery. The progenitors of all nations lived in the patriar- 
chal times, and they knew much of the truth of God. This was not 
lost all at once ; but as it was lost, political society became more mise- 
rable. As they rejected the light, they rejected their own mercy. As 
they multiplied and spread over the earth, they sunk into ignorance, 
vice, and wretchedness. Could we see as the prophet saw ; could the 
globe roll its nations round under our eye ; the proof of this would even 
now strike us, though Christianity, in some of its forms, has reclaimed 
a portion, and erected her refuges, her houses of mercy, in so many 
lands. The human race has multiplied. From the great centre of 
population in Asia, the families of men have been pushed over the con- 
tinents, and the islands of the sea. But has human happiness been 
increased by their migrations and multiplying numbers ? At the extre- 
mities of the globe, not only is religion neglected, but the arts of life 
are also lost, and man has become a ferocious savage, without either 
knowledge or humanity. The larger heathen states, which were never 
far removed from the centre of civilization, have taken arts and sciences 
Avith them down the stream of time, and have formed great nations. 
They have been multiplied ; but their joy has not increased ; for the 
state of society has become worse with every age. We venture to 
say, without fear of contradiction, from an infidel himself, that in pro- 
portion as the knowledge of those principles which are embodied in our 
revelation have faded away from the human mind, nations have be- 
come, in every sense, more disordered and miserable. The ancient 
and modern states of Asia are the witnesses. In them the greater 
part of society is dreadfully oppressed ; the female sex is degraded ; in- 
cessant wars have been carried on with a ferocity unknown among our- 
selves ; civil commotions are frequent ; power is the constant rule of 
right ; and every passion is left to its own lawless violence. China 
alone affects to be an exception. But we begin to know that country 
better than formerly. The fables of infidel writers respecting it begin 
to be detected ; and as we know, by dint of being driven to examine 
the subject, how to appreciate the character of the " virtuous Hindoos ;" 
so will the virtuous Chinese ere long be stripped of their assumed ex- 
cellencies. Universal experience proves the correctness of the pro- 
phet's statement. Misery is multiplied where God and truth are 
unknown. In this case there is no redeeming principle ; the remedy 
is lost ; despair completes the wretchedness of the people ; and were 
2 



SERMON XCIX.] MISERY OF THE WORLD. 295 

it not for the prospects opened by the Gospel, that despair would be 
final and absolute. Here, however, the text breaks upon us with a 
glorious and cheering view. The prophet, as he was contemplating 
the dark and wretched state of the world, beholds a light rising in ob- 
scurity ; a light, a great light, dispels the heavy gloom ; and comfort, 
and joy, and salvation dawn upon the earth. " The people that walked 
in darkness have seen a great light : they that dwell in the land of the 
shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." 

II. On this blessed visitation we would now fix your attention. 

1. As darkness is an emblem of the religious sorrows which had 
overcast the world, so light is an emblem of the truth of the Gospel. 

As error, like darkness, had drawn her thick veil over the moral 
world, and buried every object in deepest obscurity ; so the light of 
the truth, like that of the morning, was to spread the grand scenes of 
religious intelligence before the world, and introduce a perfect day. 
This, as to many lands, the Gospel has already done ; but the purpose 
of mercy is universal; we are called to act as instruments in its pro- 
pagation ; and it is no small encouragement to us that the work, the 
blessed work assigned us, is that of giving light to them that " sit in 
darkness, and in the shadow of death." 

The Gospel is "light:" this marks its origin from heaven. It is no 
human device, but comes from God himself. 

It is " light :" this notes its truth. It is fitting that what is truth, 
without mixture of error, should be compared to the most simple sub- 
stance in nature. 

It is called "light" because of its penetrating and subtle nature. 
Kindle it up, and no shade is so gross that it cannot penetrate it ; there 
is no imposture so well devised which it will not expose ; there are no 
works of darkness whieh it will not drag to light and shame ; there is 
no conscience so callous and closed but this light will search it. 

It is called " light" because of the discoveries which it makes. It 
is "a great light :" it makes manifest the invisible God, in his awful 
and mild glories. It shows him in his works, his providence, and his 
grace ; it opens to view the path of peace which has been so long lost ; 
it presents the model and the promises of holiness ; displays the connec- 
tion between the present state of probation and eternity ; it plays round 
the darkness of the tomb, and illuminates the mansion of the grave 
vith the hope of a resurrection ; it makes the future start to sight, and 
is both " the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things 
not seen." 

But it is called " light" for another reason : it is life and health to 
the world ; it shows us " the Sun of righteousness," rising with " heal- 
ing in his wings." The comparison is made to the parent bird warm- 
ing her young to life, and giving health and strength by brooding over 
them. Such is the sun to nature : it warms to life, purges the atmo- 
sphere of its vapours, and renews the health of the world. Such is the 
light of the Gospel : where it prevails, spiritual life is inspired, and the 
moral disorders of the soul give place to health and vigour. 

2. As in the vision light succeeds to darkness, so also joy succeeds 
to fear and misery. 

This is forcibly expressed in the text : the joy which is here de- 
scribed is no common joy, no ordinary feeling ; it is the joy of harvest, 

2 



296 THE REMEDY OF THE [SERMON XCIX. 

and the joy of victory ; the joy inspired by the copious bounty of Hea- 
ven, or of those special interpositions of the Almighty in favour of his 
people, by which he breaks off the yoke of an oppressing enemy, and 
gives them his spoil. Such occasions as these are particularly calcu- 
lated to gladden the heart, and fill the mind with the holiest ardours. 
The effect of the diffusion of the Gospel, in producing universal joy, 
is the constant theme of prophecy : one prophet listens, and cries, 
"From the ends of the earth have I heard songs, even glory to the 
righteous." Another, by a bold and noble personification, makes not 
only man, but all inanimate nature, rejoice : " Let the trees rejoice, 
and the floods clap their hands." Even hills and streams are vocal in 
praise of the universal Redeemer ; the very lights of heaven brighten 
at the appearance of Christ : " The light of the moon shall be as the 
light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven-fold ;" as shed- 
ding a richer glory upon a redeemed world. The same idea prevails 
in heaven as upon earth in reference to this subject : the angel said to 
the shepherds of Judea, " I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which 
shall be unto you and to all people ; for unto you is born this day in the 
city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." True joy, as yet, 
there is none upon a large scale ; of sorrow and sighing the world has 
ever been full ; and as long as it remains in this state, even sighs might 
sooner fail than cause to sigh. Even that which is called joy is 
mockery and unreal, an effort to divert a pained and wounded mind ; 
it gleams like a transient light, only to make men more sensible of 
the darkness. As long as the world is wicked, it must be miserable : 
" There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." All attempts to 
increase happiness, except by diminishing wickedness and strengthen- 
ing the moral principle, are vain. The Gospel is the grand cure of 
human wo : and when it has spread to the extent* seen by the prophet ; 
when it has leavened the heart of man, regulated his actions, shed its 
own character upon society ; when it has interwoven itself into human 
laws, government, and national institutions ; then a sorrowing world 
shall dry up its tears, and complaint give place to praise ; then con- 
science will no longer rack the spirit, for it shall be sprinkled with the 
blood of Christ ; the soul shall no longer pine in discontent, for God, 
its true and natural portion, shall be known and enjoyed ; the voice of 
joy shall be heard in the tabernacles of the righteous, for God will 
make those of one house to be agreed ; violence and oppression shall 
cease, and, with them, the widow's wrongs, and the orphan's tears. 
By a connection as inseparable as that which subsists between sin 
and misery, the effect of righteousness shall be peace, quietness, and 
assurance for ever ; the people shall joy as in the time of harvest, 
for righteousness shall spring out of the earth, and peace look down 
from heaven : " The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad 
for them ;" they shall joy as in victory, for the rod of the grand op- 
pressor shall be broken ; Satan shall fall, h^W^jgH be terminated ; and 
one universal transporting " Hallelujah"'' asc&hd from every land, to 
the honour of Him by whom the victory is achieved. 

III. So vast a change must be produced by causes proportionably 

powerful ; and to the means by which this astonishing revolution is 

effected, the prophet next directs our attention :?" For thou hast broken 

the yoke of hia burden, and the staff of his slioulder, the rod of his 

2 



SERMON XCIX.] MISERY OF THE WORLD. 297 

oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is 
with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood ; but this shall be 
with burning and fuel of fire." 

These words speak of resistance and a struggle. He that expects 
the conversion of the world without the most zealous application and 
perseverance among God's agents, and opposition from his enemies, 
has not counted the cost. Even in the apostle's time he speaks of 
" weapons of warfare ;" he arrays his Christian in complete panoply, 
and represents his own official business as a race and a warfare. In 
the conduct of this battle two things are, however, to be remarked, 
which distinguish it from every other contest : the absolute weakness 
and insufficiency of the assailants, and their miraculous success. 

The weakness and insignificance of the instruments used in break- 
ing the rod and yoke of the oppressor are sufficiently marked by the 
allusion to the destruction of the host of Midian by Gideon and his 
three hundred men. The family of Gideon was poor in Manasseh, 
and he was the least in his father's house ; the number of men assigned 
him was contemptible ; their weapons were no better than an earthen 
pitcher, a torch, and a trumpet ; the men who dreamed of Gideon 
dreamed of him under the image of a barley cake. All this meanness 
was adopted that the deliverance of Israel might appear to be the work 
of God ; and this is the manner in which he has ever wrought in the 
revival and spread of godliness in the world. Who were the instru- 
ments of spreading true religion in the apostolic age, we know ; they 
were the despised fishermen of Galilee. Feeble and unpromising in- 
struments have also been employed in subsequent revivals ; and, from 
the conformity of the present missionary system to this model, we 
augur well of future success. O yes ; if our plans had been laid in 
the cabinets of princes, applauded by the wisdom of this world, and 
fostered by its power, we might have doubted the result ; God might 
have said, " The people that are with thee are too many for me to give 
the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against 
me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me," Judges vii, 2. There 
would have been too much of man in these arrangements. But, thank 
God, the world has laughed at us, they have ridiculed our pretensions, 
and prognosticated our disappointment. For this we say again, 
" Thank God ;" not that men are blind, but that it is a proof that our 
means do not excite human confidence. We have now to send to this 
work only earthen vessels, with enclosed lights ; they have no weapon 
but the trumpet of the Gospel, and no watchword but " the sword of 
the Lord and of Gideon." Yet we fear not the result : but we much 
question whether the enemies of God do not fear it ; whether some 
presentiment of hope in the better part of the heathen, and fear in the 
wicked and in those who are interested in idolatry, have not been ex- 
cited by God ; whether many have not dreamed already of the barley 
cake rolling into the camp, and overturning the tents. Whenever the 
victory shall take place, it shall be eminently of God ; for the battle shall 
be, not " with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood, but with 
burning and fuel of fire." The demonstration of the Spirit, the power 
of God, is here compared to fire ; and it is worthy of remark, that the 
Spirit, in his saving operations, is always, in Scripture, compared to 
the most powerful principles in nature, — to the rain and dew, to wind, 

2 



298 THE REMEDY OF THE [SERMON XCIX. 

to thunder, to fire. All these images denote his efficiency, and the 
suddenness of the success ; and the extent of the benefit shall proclaim 
the victory to be the Lord's. We have seen the effect of this vital 
influence at home ; and we may, in some degree, conjecture what will 
be done abroad. Yet perhaps something very remarkable may take 
place, as is intimated in the text ; some peculiar exertion of the Divine 
power upon the mind of the world. Be this as it may ; ours is to fur- 
nish the instruments, and God will use them as he pleases. 

But it may be said, " Is not all this a splendid vision? You speak 
of weak instruments effecting a miraculous success ; of the display 
and operation of a supernatural power, touching the hearts of men, 
and changing the moral state of the world ; but what is the ground of 
this expectation ?" This natural and very proper question our text 
answers. 

IV " For unto us a child is born, and unto us a son is given : and 
the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be 
called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, 
the Prince of peace. Of the increase of his government and peace 
there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, 
to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice, from hence- 
forth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." 

We cannot enter into that wide field which this important passage 
opens to us ; but shall use it only as the answer to the question just 
stated, as laying down the grounds of that expectation of success 
which we form as to missionary efforts. This it does in a manner the 
most satisfactory. 

The Christianizing of the world is no novel thought, like the philo- 
sophic scheme of the perfectibility of human nature, of which we have 
heard so much. The plan is not ours. It was laid in the mind of God 
before the world was. The principal arrangements of the scheme are 
not left to us ; but are already fixed, not by our wisdom, but by the 
infinite wisdom of God. The part we fill is very subordinate ; and we 
expect success, not for the wisdom or fitness of the means themselves, 
but because they are connected with mightier motions, whose success 
is vast and rapid, and whose direction is Divine. In a word, we expect 
success, because God has formed a scheme of universal redemption, 
to be gradually but fully developed. He has given gifts to the world, 
the value of which is in every age to be more fully demonstrated ; and 
he has established offices in the person of Christ, which he is qualified 
to fill, to the full height of the Divine idea. In other words, we expect 
success, because " to us a child is born, to us a son is given." The 
incarnate God is come ; and, by the affixing to the cross of that con- 
secrated spotless body which he assumed, has paid the costly price of 
the redemption of all mankind. 

We expect success, because " to us a son is given." The gift is to 
us ; to us, considered as men. He took our nature ; he is " the son 
of man ;" he was made flesh ; and therefore is allied to man, to human 
nature. He is the brother of every man ; of the black, and of the 
white : of men of all countries. We have no exclusive share in the 
son of Jesse. We cannot say, " We have ten parts, and you have two, 
or none." " To us a son is given." " He is ours," shall every nation 
say, to the ends of the earth. Shout, ye continents and islands, with 
2 



SERMON XCIX.] MISERY OF THE WORLD. 299 

all your fair, your tawny, or your sooty tribes ; and the burden of your 
song shall be, " God with us ! Immanuel, Immanuel, God with us ; 
God among us; God for us!" „„,,.. 

But " the government" is placed " upon his shoulder. Ihis is ano- 
ther ground of confidence. All power is given to him. All things 
are put under him, to be used as instruments of accomplishing his pro- 
per work, to seek and to save that which was lost. Devils, angels, 
and men ; the elements of nature, and the hearts of all mankind ; the 
wisdom, the wealth, and, if you please, the folly and the poverty, of the 
world ; the commotions of nations, and the extension of commerce ; 
are all employed in the advancement of evangelical truth ; because 
He reigns whose wisdom sees, whose power grasps, and whose love di- 
rects, every thing. 

We can see nothing of strangeness and improbability in the conver- 
sion of the whole world to discourage us, when we read that the name 
of our Lord and Leader is " Wonderful ;" and that, in the mysteries of 
his nature, and his acts of grace and government, there has ever been, 
and will ever be, a series of wonders, which shall excite the endless 
admiration of his people, and silence and shame his adversaries. 

While he bears the title of the " Counsellor," he who giveth counsel, 
we shall beg his direction, as to our present plans and future conduct, 
with confidence ; for he bears no title in vain. He will guide us by 
his wisdom in all our efforts and plans. 

Powerful as the opposition may be to his truth, we see it overcome. 
We see with joy his foot on the necks of his enemies ; for he is " the 
mighty God," and the people must fall under him. 

" Is any thing too hard for thee, 
Almighty Lord of all ; 
Whose threat'ning looks dry up the sea, 
And make the mountains fall ?" 

We derive, too, no small encouragement, on the present occasion, 
from his title, " the Father of the eternal age," the Gospel period ; for 
as the great Originator of all the blessings and comforts, the holy 
works and benevolent institutions, of that age, he will not disown that 
which we form this day, — an institution which seeks his glory, and the 
promotion of his designs. 

Lastly, if we wanted encouragement and motive in this work, we 
should find it in that endearing title, " the Prince of peace," and the 
corresponding declaration, "Of the increase of his government and 
peace there shall be no end." This terminates the whole in a manner 
most glorious to God, and most hopeful to man. A prospect opens 
through darkness into light ; confusion, into order ; contention, into 
peace ; misery, into happiness ; and the prospect widens. The " peace" 
shall have no "end;" and its "increase" shall have "no end." It 
shall spread from the fountain which flows by the mount of God, our 
Zion, into the deserts of the world ; and time shall only widen and 
expand it. It mixes with the still broader and clearer streams of life 
and joy, rivers clear as crystal, which flow from the throne of God and 
of the Lamb. 

Our text has set before us the moral misery of the human race ; the 
purpose of God to remove it by the diffusion of his truth and grace ; 
the means chosen for this purpose ; and the ground of that certain suc- 

2 



300 THE REMEDY, ETC. [SERMON XCIX. 

cess which must attend the application of the prescribed means under 
the Divine blessing. It now only remains for me to invite you, my 
hearers, to such a co-operation in this great and good work, as your 
own ability and the importance of the enterprise demand. 

We appeal to 5 r ou as Christians ; and as Christians I am sure we 
shall be successful. I cannot look upon a man as a Christian, but I 
look upon him as a friend to missions, a friend to the heathen, a friend 
to the cause of Christ. To suppose the contrary, would be to deny 
him the venerable name of Christian. See you a man bearing the 
name of a Christian, and yet regardless of the honour of his Lord ? 
Strike his name out of the baptismal register ; take off his badge ; and 
exhibit him as an unfeeling pagan. But it is not to such persons I 
now address myself; but to Christians who have received the spirit 
of their religion, — the feeling heart, the boundless charity, the burning 
zeal, the liberal hand, of the Gospel. You are now called to gratify 
these feelings, and to employ these energies. Your Master gives you 
the summons. He calleth for you. There is your work. Like him, 
go about doing good, by your missionaries ; like him, go and open the 
eyes of the blind, unstop the ears of the deaf, and proclaim the Gospel 
jubilee to the slaves of sin. Does ignorance excite pity 1 Then pity 
a benighted world. Does misery excite compassion ? Then let your 
compassions, your sympathies, flow for a world which groans under 
the direst yoke, faints under its load, and even groans for deliverance. 
Are you jealous for the honour of God ? See in the state of the hea- 
then the strongest of excitements. Your God is unknown, and dis- 
honoured. Idols have usurped his worship. Demons seat themselves 
on his throne. Are there none here to set up the banners of the Lord 
God omnipotent, and by the thunder of his name to chase the hosts of 
the lying idols of hell ? Your Saviour is unknown : Jesus, that name 
which charms your fears, and bids your sorrows cease ; at the very 
mention of which you drink in inspiration, and become new creatures. 
There are vast and populous countries that never heard the sound of 
that name ; myriads of creatures for whom he bled, who know not their 
Benefactor. Many blessings of Providence, and some of grace, they 
have received from him ; but, like the man in the Gospel, they wist 
not who it is that blessed them. Have you no anxiety to reveal the 
secret ; to withdraw the veil ; to show the Friend of man to man ; and 
to say, " Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the 
world ?" Do you not say, 

" Jesus, I love thy charming name, 
'Tis music in my ear ?' 

O let heaven and earth hear it ! Let us, at least, do our utmost, in fu- 
ture, to extend the knowledge of this name, and to make its savour re- 
freshing as the incense of the sanctuary, known in every place, " a sa- 
vour of life unto life." Perhaps some are ready to go and preach in 
this name ; and say, " Here I am ; send me." Happy shall we be if 
this day's service give another missionary to the heathen. 

But we appeal to you as British Christians. Other Christians may 
have their work nearer home ; but God has evidently made it our duty 
lo become instruments in converting the world. For this he has given 
us wealth, commercial connections, a mercantile navy, and colonies. 
He has given us also light, and religious liberty. We travel every part 
2 



SERMON C] MAJESTY AND CONDESCENSION OF GOD. 



301 



of the globe ; and of late, to use the language of a negro, « he has broken 
the door through" into India. O Britain, listen to this call of thy God ! 
Thy garners are full : scatter to the east and to the west. Thy light 
is burning : lift it up, that it give light to all around. If thou scatter- 
est, thou shalt increase. If thou blessest others, thou shalt be blessed 
thyself. But if thou hoardest up the seed of life, God shall smite thee 
with mildew ; and if thou puttest thy light under a bushel, it shall be 
extinguished in its own vapour. 

Lastly, give me leave to enjoin, not only missionary zeal, but also 
an increased attention to personal piety. On this occasion, we dis- 
guise it not, we want your influence, your exertions, your money : but 
most of all, your piety. When this is secured, we gain all the rest. 
For your own welfare, and lest, while many shall come from the east, 
and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and sit down 
in the kingdom of God, you yourselves should be excluded, see that you 
receive in faith and love the Son given unto you. Thus you will be 
blessed in him ; and you will become ardent missionaries, or friends to 
the mission work. Your zeal will be the pure flame of love ; and your 
lamp will burn with a steady and cheering light, supplied with the oil 
of piety. " Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh 
shall find so doing." 



Sermon C. — The Majesty and Condescension of God. 



" Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, who humbleth 
himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth," Psalm cxiii, 
5,6. 

Noble and magnificent ideas of God have been found in all ages, 
and in almost all countries. The great want of the civilized among 
the ancient heathen world was, not that they did not know God, but 
that, " when they knew him, they did not glorify him as God, neither 
were thankful." The philosophy of the world, even in the present 
day, has its elevated and magnificent views of the Divine Being ; yet 
it would seem uniform, whether among the sages of the heathen world, 
or among the philosophers of our own time, that the loftier their views 
are, even of the Divine nature, the more they tend to distrust and un- 
belief; and that just in proportion as they have thought nobly of God, 
so the impression has deepened that, with respect to individuals at 
least, they were not the subjects of his immediate care. The doctrine 
of a particular providence, and the doctrine of direct Divine influence 
upon the heart of man, have by them always been considered absurd 
and fanatical. Now, when I turn to the sages of inspiration, to the 
holy men of old, who thought and spoke as they were moved by the 
Holy Ghost, I find quite a different result; and that, in proportion to 
the views they had of the glory of God, so was their confidence and 
hope. 

That two such opposite results should spring from the same order 
of thoughts with respect to the Divine Being, is a singular fact, which 
demands and deserves some inquiry. How is it that, among the men 

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302 MAJESTY AND CONDESCENSION OF GOD. [SERMON C» 

of the world, wise as they are, in proportion as they have had high and 
exalted views of God, these lofty ideas have tended to distrust ; while 
just in proportion as we are enlighted on the very same subjects, by 
the Scriptures of truth, when rightly and spiritually understood, we, 
as well as the authors of these sacred books, in proportion as we see 
the glory and the grandeur of God, are excited to a filial and comfort, 
ing trust ? There are two propositions, brethren, in the text, which 
human reason could never unite. " Who is like unto the Lord our God, 
who dwelleth on high ?" — but yet he " humbleth himself to behold the 
things that are in heaven, and that are in the earth." And the reason, 
brethren, why the mere unassisted faculties of man could never unite 
these two ideas is, .that they could not, in the nature of things, be unit- 
ed, but by a third discovery, which must come from God himself, and 
show the other two in perfect harmony, — the discovery that " God so 
loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever 
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." That 
discovery is intimated to us by the very name which our Saviour bore 
at his incarnation, " Immanuel, God with us." There God and man 
met. And when we know this, and enter into the spirit of this great 
truth, then we know that there is a philanthropy, a love of man, in 
God ; an intense, a boundless love even of creatures low and degraded 
as they are ; then we wonder no longer how it is that he who exalteth 
himself to dwell on high should humble himself to behold, not only the 
things which are in heaven, but those also upon the earth. Thank 
God that we know this ; that we see the glory of God in the face of 
Jesus Christ, and that thus we have the key to all the mysteries of his 
condescending and gracious manifestations ! 

Having made these general observations, let us now consider the two 
propositions, briefly, which the text contains. 

I. In the first place, that God dwelleth on high. " Who is like unto 
the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high ?" 

It is not my intention to descant on the greatness and glory of God : 
I should darken counsel on such a subject by words without knowledge. 
One step plunges us in an unfathomable abyss ; the very first excur- 
sion of thought perplexes us with the immensity by which we are sur- 
rounded. It is my intention rather to consider this subject, my bre- 
thren, with respect to its practical bearings, and to show you the great 
ends for which these revelations of God are made to us. For in 
Scripture nothing is revealed as mere matter of speculation ; nothing 
is revealed for the purpose merely of gratifying curiosity ; nothing is 
revealed for the purpose of exciting a strong sentimental feeling, except 
as it may be subordinated to something higher ; all that is said of God 
by himself in his sacred word is said for the purpose of producing in us 
humility, and faith, and hope. " The Lord our God," says the text, 
"dwelleth on high." 

1. This is a declaration of the Divine majesty, designed to rebuke 
that thoughtlessness which we are so apt to indulge, and to impress us 
with that reverence which is at once so becoming and so necessary. 

The reference is, no doubt, to the dwelling place of God, — for he 

has his dwelling place. Hence, in the margin, it is rendered, " Who 

is like unto the Lord our God, who exalteth himself to dwell on high?" 

We seem to be directed to climb the heights of nature, to ascend from 

2 



SERMON C] MAJESTY AND CONDESCENSION OF GOD. 303 

world to world ; and then we are reminded that the dwelling place of 
God is high above all these heights ; that, unapproachable by human 
eye, he dwells in some shrine of light ; in some shrine of splendour, 
overpowering even to the gaze of angels, and before which they trem- 
ble as they look. But why is this discovery made to us ? We learn 
from the sacred Scriptures that this light is not God ; that this exter- 
nal glory is no part of his nature ; that he but dwells in it ; that it is 
an emblem of what he is ; that it is a visible representation, — in as 
far as a visible representation can shadow forth what is immaterial, — 
it is a representation of his intellectual and moral glories to his ra- 
tional creatures. The light stands as the symbol of a mind which has 
no shade of darkness ; that pure element is the emblem of a purity 
which has no stain ; its activity and diffusiveness are the emblem of 
God's ever-active presence, by which he filleth all in all. And thus 
we are taught, from this very reference to God's dwelling in light, that, 
though invisible to us, we are in the light of his countenance ; that the 
whole universe is in that light ; that his presence is every where ; that 
his eye searcheth all things, even the heart of man ; and from the 
views of God every where present, of a purity unsullied, of a know- 
ledge perfect and complete, we are taught to live perpetually under a 
reverent impression of God's majesty, and the whole earth is called to 
fear before him. " The Lord our God," then, in respect of his Divine 
majesty, " dwelleth on high." 

2. This is a revelation of his power. 

When I come to connect this revelation with its practical ends, I 
see, especially in this manifestation of God's power, one of the grand 
foundations of our faith ; that principle which is so absolutely neces- 
sary to our comfort and our salvation. Let us endeavour to illustrate 
this. When the promise was given that Sarah should have a son, she 
laughed through incredulity. And how did the angel reprove her? 
" Is any thing too hard for the Lord ?" What is the praise of Abra- 
ham's faith on one occasion? That he intentionally offered up his son 
Isaac, though in him he had received the promises ; and that he fully 
believed that God was able to raise him up from the dead, and would 
do so, rather than the promise should fail. Now, these illustrations go 
to this point, that wherever there is a clear and express promise made 
as to any thing, just in proportion as we are instructed by the holy 
Scriptures in the almighty power of God, that, united to our knowledge 
of his faithfulness, forms the foundation for that absolute and entire 
trust which we are called to exercise with respect to the promises of 
God. And truly, brethren, we have often to resort to this great idea to 
support our faith, even with respect to the Divine promises. How often 
have we been, or may we be exposed to troubles which we cannot 
sustain, and know we cannot, in our own strength ! How often may 
we be placed in circumstances of temptation, which, if left to our 
own strength, we cannot resist ! How sorely and how frequently have 
we proved that we have sins and corruptions within us which we can- 
not overcome ! Whither, then, are we to resort for strength to enable 
us to vanquish our spiritual enemies, and rise superior to all the trials 
and temptations which beset the Christian's path ? 

But the Church is taught to make the same reference to God's 
almighty power with individual believers in all ages. When the arm 

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304 MAJESTY AND CONDESCENSION OF GOD. [SERMON C. 

of persecution has been raised, and when the men of the world, 
leagued with its powers, have risen up, and sought, with savage keen- 
ness, her utter extermination, in such circumstances, what is the 
natural appeal ? Is it not an appeal immediately from her own weak- 
ness to the power of God ? As in the beautiful instance of the woman 
of Canaan, cut off from all other hope, and throwing herself at the 
feet of the Saviour, and crying with the unaffected humility of believ- 
ing prayer, " Lord, help me ;" the language of the Church in all ages 
has been, " Help, Lord ; let not man prevail." " I will lift up mine 
eyes," saith David, "unto the hills, whence cometh my help. Our 
help standeth in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth ! 
Out of the depths have I cried unto thee. When my heart is over- 
whelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I." 

Steady views of the Divine power, my brethren, and that with 
respect to all those circumstances to which the promises of God in 
his blessed word continually relate, are, in fact, the foundations of our 
faith : and there our spirits may rest. Now, there is, in my text, a 
revelation of this power. " Who is like unto the Lord our God, who 
dwelleth on high ?" You not only see that his residence is high above 
the boundaries of all created nature, but, if you climb through the 
scale of being, however high and exalted, you may say, as to the 
highest of them, " There is One that is higher than they." They all 
hang upon him in whom they live, and move, and have their being. 
" For by him were all things created that are in heaven and earth, 
whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers ; all 
things were created by him, and for him ; and by him all things consist." 
Are any of them rebels 1 They are in chains. Have they kept their 
first estate? They are his ministers ever ready to do his pleasure. 
Every thing, my brethren* being thus subject to Him who is high above 
all, whose almighty power has hitherto controlled all things, and con- 
tinues to control and regulate them, this revelation of the Divine power 
is made, that man — the man that trusts in God, and rests upon his 
almighty power — may be afraid of nothing ; and that, when he has to 
believe any express promise which is made to him in the word of God, 
whose accomplishment, to the man of the world, seems altogether 
impossible, he may say, " Is any thing too hard for the Lord ?" receiving 
the promise, and waiting for the Divine interposition, with that faith 
which almighty God at all times has honoured, and will honour to the 
end of the world. "The Lord dwelleth on high." 

3. This is a revelation of his wisdom, of his infinite and arranging 
wisdom. 

There is nothing in whicli we are more interested than in the great 
doctrine, that there is a power presiding over the affairs of the uni- 
verse ; a power, not only superior to every thing beside, but a power 
which arranges and manages every thing ; a power under the direction 
of wisdom. In that we are interested. It is connected with our com- 
fort as to individual life ; connected with our confidence, as to God's 
Church ; and connected with all our views of providence, as to the 
management and issues of the affairs of this world. 

We have often need to resort to God's wisdom, as a first principle, 
as well as to his power. Every thinking, every caring, anxious man, 
whether his care be exercised with respect to his own soul, or the 



SERMON C.J MAJESTY AND CONDESCENSION OF GOD. 



305 



Church of God, or the world, will find that he has no solid comfort, 
but in resorting to the wisdom, as well as to the power, of God ; and 
when it is manifested to him by a revelation so certain, he will bless 
God for the information, and find, in consequence, a true repose of 
spirit. For what an intricate drama is the history of the world at large ! 
And who can tell in what it may issue ? If viewed superficially, and 
in itself, without throwing in upon the scene light from some other 
quarter, one can scarcely see a plan running through it. There has 
been a constant succession of similar events ; the same scenes have 
been acted over and over again in different parts of the earth ; and all 
seems to be without design or plan. I have often felt curious to know 
the thoughts of a really thinking, inquiring man upon this subject ; one 
who does not advert to the information which the Scriptures give us, 
as to the government of the world. It seems to me that he would 
necessarily be involved in the utmost perplexity. What a mystery has 
the Church of Christ been, and what a mystery does it still continue 
to be, in very many respects ! In the symbolic book of the Revela- 
tion, it is true, she is represented as a woman clothed with the sun, 
having the moon under her feet ; but, instead of that, we have seen 
her in many ages, as though clothed with clouds, and walking in dark- 
ness, and linked with all the mutations of this changeable world. And, 
when viewed apart from the light and evidence of the Gospel, what a 
mystery is individual life ! How many purposes of ours are frustrated ! 
How full is life of fragments, so to speak ; fragments which seem to 
have no connection with each other ! How often are we involved in 
the most painful and perplexing intricacies ! Frequently have the best 
of men said with Jacob, "All these things are against me." But is it 
indeed thus? Is the world like an abandoned vessel, driven by the 
tempest, the sport of every wind and of every wave 1 Brethren, will 
the time never arrive when the state of the Church shall correspond 
to the prophetic vision, and when the very darkness with which in 
former times she has been surrounded, will render more effulgent the 
light, not of the moon, the symbol of change, but of that celestial orb 
of day with which she shall be clothed, and when she shall advance 
increasingly in peerless glory and uncreated splendour for ever and 
ever ? And is it so, that there is no secret hand guiding the concerns 
of individuals too ? Is there no"design in all this ? Is there no great 
end of wisdom and of mercy to be accomplished by all the parts, 
which to us appear separate and distinct in the believer's history ? Is 
there no enigma in his various trials and sufferings ? As in the riddle 
of Samson's lion, shall food never come out of the eater, or sweetness 
out of the strong ? Is it so, my brethren ? The text supplies an answer 
to inquiries such as these. " Who is like unto the Lord our God, who 
dwelleth on high ?" at the head of all things, and, therefore, at the head 
of government ; for he dwelleth there on his regal throne, in the place 
of his supreme dominion. 

And as this revelation cannot be a revelation of mere power, but is 
a revelation also of wisdom united with power, then the issue of all 
things must necessarily be right, and the wisdom will then be manifest. 
' Modern philosophy has very much enlarged to us the boundaries of the 
material universe, by the aid of glasses, and the observations that have 
been made by the human eye, assisted by these instruments : the cal- 

Vol. II. 20 



306 MAJESTY AND CONDESCENSION OF GOD. [SERMON C. 

culations that have been founded upon these, very likely, are exceed- 
ingly just ; and we are astonished at the immense, the almost boundless, 
extent of the material universe. My brethren, instead of that shocking 
a Christian, instead of that being any thing in the service of infidelity, 
there is nothing in which, when rightly understood, we may rejoice 
more. Enlarge to our view the boundaries of God's universe as much 
as you may, and then be sure of this, that as in wisdom he hath made 
them all, so there are vast plans connected with them all ; and in pro- 
portion to the vastness of the universe itself are the great ends which 
have to be accomplished, and which it shall be ours to know, and, 
knowing them, it shall be ours, too, to adore more deeply the unsearch- 
able wisdom and knowledge of God. 

Then, as to the world itself, there must necessarily, after all the 
mysteries with which it is surrounded, and the blackness which seems 
to hang upon it, if considered with respect to the apparent absence of 
intention and design ; there must, from the general principle, that God 
hath made and wisely governs all things, be some grand plan to be 
developed as to the world itself. How many millions have trod upon 
its surface ! And how has every scene that has taken place upon its 
extended arena, served to develope to us some grand moral principle ! 
What sweeps of judgment have been made to visit it; and yet how 
have even these been accompanied by breaks of tender mercy ! Let 
us remember that the incarnate God trod its soil, and that the elements 
of earth were taken up into his very substance, and united with him ; 
let us remember that here, he paid the price of our redemption ; that, 
when he ascended up on high, he left a blessing upon earth behind 
him ; that he planted there his heavenly truth ; that he established his 
Church ; that he vouchsafed to it the revelations of his word ; that he 
visits it with the influence of his Holy Spirit ; that he has been, and 
is, bringing over continually many from their wandering and estrange- 
ment to his own fold ; and that an innumerable company of saved souls 
are now carried from this earthly scene of things, encircling in holiness 
and felicity his heavenly throne. That has all been connected with 
this earth ; and if you know not to what all things are tending, know, 
Christian, that the Lord exalteth himself to dwell on high, and, from 
that height of power, with an infinite wisdom, orders and subordinates 
all things to the production of some great result, worthy of the neces- 
sary, though, at present, mysterious and uncombined, circumstances, 
which successively have taken place in this scene of manifestation. 

And let the individual believer trust in this wisdom too. If thy 
heart be sound in the statutes of thy God, if it be thy great desire to 
glorify him in his Son, then, whatever may be your present trials, and 
perplexities, and doubts, and fears, there is wisdom, Divine wisdom, in 
all God's dealings with you. Trust in that wisdom, then ; be assured, 
by and by, the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places 
plain. By and by, the glory shall be revealed ; we shall see all things 
in their true and relative connections, and how they have all been 
subordinated to the grand end on which the love of God hath fixed 
itself, — the salvation and final glorification of the sinner that puts his 
trust in him. " Who then is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth 
on high ?" 

But there is another thought which we may briefly touch upon : God 
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SEKMON C] MAJESTY AND CONDESCENSION OF GOD. 



307 



is said not only to be on high, but to " dwell" on high ; this intimates 
calm and composed operation ; and it is proper for us to take this view 
of the character of God's administration. You recollect that, in all 
ages, unbelief has been, in some respects, rendered plausible by the 
delays of God in the accomplishment of his designs. So, in St. Peter's 
time, it would seem that, because the first apostles and preachers of 
Christianity had dwelt much on Christ's coming to judgment, they 
cried out, " Where is the promise of his coming 1 for, since the fathers 
fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the 
creation." What is the apostle's answer to this? His first answer, I 
grant, is, that all things have not continued as they were from the 
creation ; that there was a flood of waters, and that those who said, 
" Where is the promise of his coming V in the days of Noah, in an 
unbelieving spirit, were at last answered by the bursting earth and the 
breaking heavens ; as every sinner shall be answered by the manifest- 
ation of God's sweeping judgments. That was his first answer ; but 
his second answer contains an idea connected with the principle I have 
laid down : " One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a 
thousand years as one day." The Being who is from everlasting to 
everlasting is under no necessity to hurry his plans ; therefore he hath 
fixed the times and the seasons, which are all with him. And we are 
not, from his delays, my brethren, to feed our unbelief, but we must 
wait with patience ; we are to judge of nothing before the time : the 
times and the seasons the Father hath kept in his own hand ; there 
they are, and in his own time the mystery shall be unveiled, the design 
completed, and the promise gloriously fulfilled. 

There was a fulness of time for the coming of the Sen in the flesh ; 
and there is a fulness of time for the accomplishment of all his pur- 
poses of judgment and of mercy. He dwelleth on high in calm and 
moveless majesty ; and, in his time, shall show who is " the blessed 
and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords ;" he will 
make manifest to the Church, and to the world, the grace of his hea- 
venly government, especially to those of the faithful and persevering, 
who study his word, and observe his wavs. 

Thus we see that these revelations of the Divine Majesty and great- 
ness are all connected with the most important practical principles. 

II. Let us now very shortly attend to the second part of the text : 
" The Lord, who dwelleth on high, humbleth himself to behold the 
things that are in heaven, and in the earth." 

As is the majesty, so also is the mercy of our God. He humbleth 
himself to behold, not only the things that are in heaven, — and that 
itself would be a stoop of condescension, — but he humbleth himself, 
also, to behold the things upon the earth : and how low, is indicated 
in the next verse : " He raiseth the needy from the dunghill, and set- 
teth the poor on high." 

1. In the first place, this condescension of God to things on earth, 
respects the regard which he has had for our race, for the race fallen 
indeed as it is, poor, and seated in the dust, and lying on the dunghill. 

He humbled himself so far as even to assume the nature of our race, 
to pay the price of its redemption, and to stand in the presence of God 
as the Prophet, the Priest, and the eternal Advocate for sinners. So 
he humbled himself; and it is this grand humiliation of the Saviour to 



308 MAJESTY AND CONDESCENSION OF GOD. [SERMON C. 

which all the prophets gave witness, and to which all the other conde- 
scensions of God have respect. Let not this doctrine, then, be looked 
upon as if we had no duty to perform : having this great High Priest 
and Advocate, let us commit our cause to his pleading ; let us confess 
our sins before the throne ; let us trust to his intercession, that we 
may know, by experience, how greatly God humbleth himself to behold 
the things, not only in heaven, but also upon the earth. 

2. There is, no doubt, also a reference in this to the respect which 
God pays even to the lower ranks of the race, seeing that he raiseth 
up the poor, and lifteth up the needy. 

I have no doubt there is reference, throughout the whole of this 
psalm, to evangelical times ; that, in this respect, it is a prophetic 
psalm, including a reference especially to Christianity, as it may be 
called, by eminence and distinction, the religion of the poor, — its great- 
est glory. For when John the Baptist sent two disciples to Jesus to 
know whether he was the Messiah or not, the answer of our Lord was, 
" The blind see, the lepers are cleansed, the dead are raised :" all ex- 
traordinary events ; miracles, in short, which proved his Divine com- 
mission. And he summed up the whole by saying, " The poor have 
the Gospel preached unto them :" as great a miracle as any ; as great 
a distinction as any. There never was a religion but the true reli- 
gion, in all its various dispensations, that had equal respect to all 
classes of society : in all others there was a privileged class ; but here 
there is none. Perhaps one of the most interesting views of Chris- 
tianity we can take, is its wonderful adaptation to the character and 
circumstances of the poor. What an opportunity does it furnish for 
the manifestation of the bright and mild graces of the Holy Spirit ! 
What sources of comfort does it open to mollify the troubles of life ! 
And how often, in choosing the poor, rich in faith, to make them heirs 
of the kingdom, does God exalt the poor out of the dust, and the needy 
from the dunghill ! 

3. But the text includes a reference also to the condescension of 
God in his religion to man in circumstances of trouble. 

For as it was the custom of persons in great trouble to clothe them- 
selves in sackcloth, and sit in dust, and even in ashes, so, my brethren, 
the expressions that immediately follow the text imply, that the con- 
descension of this great Being who dwelleth on high, extends to all 
his creatures, whatever circumstances may distinguish them, amidst 
all the troubles to which they may be exposed. His eye penetrates 
through the ranks of angels, and fixes upon a trembling, humble, con- 
trite sinner ; and to every man who clothes himself with sackcloth, 
and sits in the dust and ashes of repentance, his mourning for sin, 
through the great atoning sacrifice offered once for its expiation, shall 
be followed by rejoicing ; he shall be set among the princes, even 
among the princes of God's people, his name being written among the 
sons of God. 

4. Finally. The expressions of the text refer to our nature. 

To this I advert, not without authority from other parts of Scripture. 
Human nature itself, considered as human nature, is sometimes spoken 
of in Scripture in very affecting language, both with respect to its 
humiliation, and likewise with respect to God's interest in it. We 
are, in this respect, as to nature, poor and fallen, and reduced to the 
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SERMON C] MAJESTY AND CONDESCENSION OF GOD. 309 

very dust ; but the God that dwelleth on high so humbleth himself to 
look upon the things that are in the earth, as to raise " the poor out of 
the dust, and the needy out of the dunghill." St. Paul, you remember, 
teaches us that David, in the eighth psalm, was speaking about Jesus, 
when he said, " Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, 
thou hast crowned him with glory and honour, and didst set him over 
the work of thine hands." It was Jesus who was made a little lower 
than the angels, and then crowned with glory and honour, all things 
being put under his feet. But there, let it be observed, was the honour 
done to human nature. Here is the great principle on which the 
admiration of the psalmist was founded : that God, who made the starry 
sky, and who, as it is expressed in the t